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" I have no wife, nor children, good or bad, to provide for. A mere 
spectator of other men's fortunes and adventures, and how they play 
their parts, which, methinks, are diversely presented unto me, as from a 
common theatre or scene." BURTON. 

Eefriseti lEtoitfon. 








































L'ENVOY 285 






THE following papers, with two exceptions, were written in 
England, and formed but part of an intended series for which 
I had made notes and memorandums. Before I could mature 
a plan, however, circumstances compelled me to send them 
piecemeal to the United States, where they were published 
from time to time in portions or numbers. It was not my in- 
tention to publish them in England, being conscious that 
much of their contents could be interesting only to American 
readers, and, in truth, being deterred by the severity with 
which American productions had been treated by the British 

By the time the contents of the first volume had appeared 
in this occasional manner, they began to find their way across 
the Atlantic, and to be inserted, with many kind encomiums, in 
the London Literary Gazette. It was said, also, that a London 
bookseller intended to publish them in a collective form. I 
determined, therefore, to bring them forward myself, that they 
might at least have the benefit of my superintendence and 
revision. I accordingly took the printed numbers which I 
had received from the United States, to Mr. John Murray, 
the eminent publisher, from whom I had already received 
friendly attentions, and left them with him for examination, 
informing him that should he be inclined to bring them before 
the public, I had materials enough on hand for a second vol- 
ume. Several days having elapsed without any communica- 
tion from Mr. Murray, I addressed a note to him in which I 
construed his silence into a tacit rejection of my work, and 
begged that the numbers I had left with him might be returned 
to me. The following was his reply : 

MY DEAR SIR : I entreat you to believe that I feel truly 
obliged by your kind intentions towards me, and that I enter- 
tain the most unfeigned respect for your most tasteful talents. 
My house is completely filled with work-people at this time, 
and I have only an office to transact business in ; and yester- 


day I was wholly occupied, or I should have done myself the 
pleasure of seeing you. 

If it would not suit me to engage in the publication of your 
present work, it is only because I do not see that scope in the 
nature of it which would enable me to make those satisfactory 
accounts between us, without which I really feel no satisfaction 
in engaging but I will do all I can to promote their circu- 
lation, and shall be most ready to attend to any future, plan 
of yours. 

With much regard, I remain, dear sir, 

Your faithful servant, 


This was disheartening, and might have deterred me from 
any further prosecution of the matter, had the question of 
republication in Great Britain rested entirely with me ; but 
I apprehended the appearance of a spurious edition. I now 
thought of Mr. Archibald Constable as publisher, having been 
treated by him with much hospitality during a visit to Edin- 
burgh ; but first I determined to submit my work to Sir 
Walter (then Mr.) Scott, being encouraged to do so by the 
cordial reception I had experienced from him at Abbotsford 
a few years previously, and by the favorable opinion he had 
expressed to others of my earlier writings. I accordingly 
sent him the printed numbers of the Sketch Book in a parcel 
by coach, and at the same time wrote to him, hinting that 
since I had had the pleasure of partaking of his hospitality, a 
reverse had taken place in my affairs which made the success- 
ful exercise of my pen all-important to me ; I begged him, 
therefore, to look over the literary articles I had forwarded 
to him, and, if he thought they would bear European republi- 
cation, to ascertain whether Mr. Constable would be inclined 
to be the publisher. 

The parcel containing my work went by coach to Scott's 
address in Edinburgh ; the letter went by mail to his resi- 
dence in the country. By the very first post I received a 
reply, before he had seen my work. 

" I was down at Kelso," said he, " when your letter reached 
Abbotsford. I am now on my way to town, and will con- 
verse with Constable, and do all in my power to forward your 
views I assure you nothing will give me more pleasure." 

The hint, however, about a reverse of fortune had struck 
the quick apprehension of Scott, and, with that practical and 
efficient good will which belonged to his nature, he had already 


devised a way of aiding me. A weekly periodical, he went on 
to inform me, was about to be set up in Edinburgh, supported 
by the most respectable talents, and amply furnished with all 
the necessary information. The appointment of the editor, 
for which ample funds were provided, would be five hundred 
pounds sterling a year, with the reasonable prospect of further 
advantages. This situation, being apparently at his disposal, 
he frankly offered to me. The work, however, he intimated, 
was to have somewhat of a political bearing, and he expressed 
an apprehension that the tone it was desired to adopt might 
not suit me. " Yet I risk the question," added he, " because I 
know no man so well qualified for this important task, and 
perhaps because it will necessarily bring you to Edinburgh. 
If my proposal does not suit, you need only keep the matter 
secret and there is no harm done. ' And for my love I pray 
you wrong me not.' If on the contrary you think it could be 
made to suit you, let me know as soon as possible, addressing 
Castle street, Edinburgh." 

In a postscript, written from Edinburgh, he adds, " I am 
just come here, and have glanced over the Sketch Book. It 
is positively beautiful, and increases my desire to crimp you, 
if it be possible. Some difficulties there always are in man- 
aging such a matter, especially at the outset ; but we will 
obviate them as much as we possibly can." 

The following is from an imperfect draught of my reply, 
which underwent some modifications in the copy sent : 

" I cannot express how much I am gratified by your letter. 
I had begun to feel as if I had taken an unwarrantable liberty ; 
but, somehow or other, there is a genial sunshine about you 
that warms every creeping thing into heart and confidence. 
Your literary proposal both surprises and flatters me, as 
it evinces a much higher opinion of my talents than I have 

I then went on to explain that I found myself peculiarly 
unfitted for the situation offered to me, not merely by my 
political opinions, but by the very constitution and habits of 
my mind. " My whole course of life," I observed, " has been 
desultory, and I am unfitted for any periodically recurring 
task, or any stipulated labor of body or mind. I have no com- 
mand of my talents, such as they are, and have to watch the 
varyings of my mind as I would those of a weathercock. 
Practice and training may bring me more into rule ; but at 
present I am as useless for regular service as one of my own 
country Indians or a Don Cossack, 


" I must, therefore, keep on pretty much as I have begun-, 
writing when I can, not when I would. I shall occasionally 
shift my residence and write whatever is suggested by objects 
before me, or whatever rises in my imagination ; and hope to 
write better and more copiously by and by. 

I am playing the egotist, but I know no better way oi 
answering your proposal than by showing what a very good- 
for-nothing kind of being I am. Should Mr. Constable feel 
inclined to make a bargain for the wares I have on hand, he 
will encourage me to further enterprise ; and it will be some- 
thing like trading with a gypsy for the fruits of his prowlmgs, 
who may at one time have nothing but a wooden bowl to offer, 
and at another time a silver tankard." 

In' reply, Scott expressed regret, but not surprise, at my 
declining what might have proved a troublesome duty. He 
then recurred to the original subject of our correspondence ; 
entered into a detail of the various terms upon which arrange- 
ments were made between authors and booksellers, that I 
might take my choice ; expressing the most encouraging con- 
fidence of the success of my work, and of previous works 
which I had produced in America. " I did no more," added 
he, " than open the trenches with Constable ; but I am sure 
if you will take the trouble to write to him, you will find him 
disposed to treat your overtures with every degree of atten- 
tion. Or, if you think it of consequence in the first place to 
see me, I shall be in London in the course of a month, and 
whatever my experience can command is most heartily at 
your command. But I can add little to what I have said 
above, except my earnest recommendation to Constable to 
enter into the negotiation." l 

1 I cannot avoid subjoining in a note a succeeding paragraph of Scott's 
letter, which, though it does not relate to the main subject of our corre- 
spondence, was too characteristic to be omitted. Some time previously 
I had sent Miss Sophia Scott small duodecimo American editions of her 
father's poems published in Edinburgh in quarto volumes; showing the 
; ' nigromancy " of the American press, by which a quart of wine is con- 
jured into a pint bottle. Scott observes : " In my hurry, I have not 
thanked you in Sophia's name for the kind attention which furnished her 
with the American volumes. I am not quite sure I can add my own, 
since you have made her acquainted with much more of papa's folly than 
she would ever otherwise have learned ; for I had taken special care they 
should never see any of those things during their earlier years. I think 
I told you that Walter is sweeping the firmament with a feather like a 
maypole and indenting the pavement with a sword like a scythe in 
other words, he has become a whiskered hussar in the 18th Dragoons." 


Before the receipt of this most obliging letter, however, I 
had determined to look to no leading bookseller for a launch, 
but to throw my work before the public at my own risk, and 
let it sink or swim according to its merits. I wrote to that 
effect to Scott, arid soon received a reply : 

" I observe with pleasure that you are going to come forth 
in Britain. It is certainly not the very best way to publish 
on one's own accompt; for the booksellers set their face 
against the circulation of such works as do not pay an amaz- 
ing toll to themselves. But they have lost the art of alto- 
gether damming up the road in such cases between the author 
and the public, which they were once able to do as effectually 
as Diabolus in John Bunyan's Holy War closed up the win- 
dows of my Lord Understanding's mansion. I am sure of 
one thing, that you have only to be known to the British pub- 
lic to be admired by them, and I would not say so unless I 
really was of that opinion. 

" If you ever see a witty but rather local publication called 
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, you will find some notice 
of your works in the last number : the author is a friend of 
mine, to whom I have introduced you in your literary capacity. 
His name is Lockhart, a young man of very considerable talent, 
and who will soon be intimately connected with my family. 
My faithful friend Knickerbocker is to be next examined and 
illustrated. Constable was extremely willing to enter into 
consideration of a treaty for your works, but I foresee will be 
still more so when 

Your name is up, and may go 
From Toledo to Madrid. 

And that will soon be the case. I trust to be in 

London about the middle of the month, and promise myself 
great pleasure in once again shaking you by the hand." 

The first volume of the Sketch Book was put to press in 
London, as I had resolved, at my own risk, by a bookseller 
unknown to fame, and without any of the usual arts by which 
a work is trumpeted into notice. Still some attention had 
been called to it by the extracts which had previously appeared 
in the Literary Gazette, and by the kind word spoken by the 
editor of that periodical, and it was getting into fair circu- 
lation, when my worthy bookseller failed before the first 
month was over, and the sale was interrupted. 

At this juncture Scott arrived in London. I called to him 
for help, as I was sticking in the mire, and, more propitious 


than Hercules, he put his own shoulder to the wheel. Through 
his favorable representations, Murray was quickly induced to 
undertake the future publication of the work which he had 
previously declined. A further edition of the first volume 
was struck off and the second volume was put to press, and 
from that time Murray became my publisher, conducting him- 
self in all his dealings with that fair, open, and liberal spirit 
which had obtained for him the well-merited appellation of 
the Prince of Booksellers. 

Thus, under the kind and cordial auspices of Sir Walter 
Scott, I began my literary career in Europe ; and I feel that 
I am but discharging, in a trifling degree, my debt of gratitude 
to the memory of that golden-hearted man in acknowledging 
my obligations to him. But who of his literary contempo- 
raries ever applied to him for aid or counsel that did not ex- 
perience the most prompt, generous, and effectual assistance ? 

W. I. 



THE following writings are published on experiment ; should 
they please, they may be followed by others. The writer will 
have to contend with some disadvantages, He is unsettled in 
his abode, subject to interruptions, and has his share of cares 
and vicissitudes. He cannot, therefore, promise a regular plan, 
nor regular periods of publication. Should he be encouraged 
to proceed, much time may elapse between the appearance of 
his numbers ; and their size will depend on the materials he 
may have on hand. His writings will partake of the fluctua- 
tions of his own thoughts and feelings ; sometimes treating of 
scenes before him, sometimes of others purely imaginary, and 
sometimes wandering back with his recollections to his native 
country. He will not be able to give them that tranquil atten- 
tion necessary to finished composition ; and as they must be 
transmitted across the Atlantic for publication, he will have 
to trust to others to correct the frequent errors of the press. 
Should his writings, however, with all their imperfections, be 
well received, he cannot conceal that it would be a source of the 
purest gratification ; for though he does not aspire to those high 
honors which are the rewards of loftier intellects ; yet it is the 
dearest wish of his heart to have a secure and cherished, though 
humble corner in the good opinions and kind feelings of his 

London, 1819. 


THE following desultory papers are part of a series written in 
this country, but published in America. The author is aware 
of the austerity with which the writings of his countrymen have 
hitherto been treated by British critics ; he is conscious, too, 
that much of the contents of his papers can be interesting only 
in the eyes of American readers. It was not his intention, 
therefore, to have them reprinted in this country. He has, 
however, observed several of them from time to time inserted 
in periodical works of merit, and has understood, that it was 
probable they would be republished in a collective form. He 
has been induced, therefore, to revise and bring them forward 
himself, that they may at least come correctly before the public. 
Should they be deemed of sufficient importance to attract the 
attention of critics, he solicits for them that courtesy and can- 
dor which a stranger has some right to claim who presents 
himself at the threshold of a hospitable nation. 

February, 1820, 



I am of this mind with Homer, that as the snaile that crept out of her shel was 
turned eftsoons into a toad, and thereby was forced to make a stoole to sit on ; so the 
traveller that stragleth from his owne country is in a short time transformed into so 
monstrous a shape, that he is faiue to alter his mansion with his manners, and to live 
where he can, not where he would. Lyly's Euphues. 

I WAS always fond of visiting new scenes, and observing 
strange characters and manners. Even when a mere child I 
began my travels, and made many tours of discovery into for- 
eign parts and unknown regions of my native city, to the fre 
quent alarm of my parents, and the emolument of the town 
crier. As I grew into boyhood, I extended the range of my 
observations. My holiday afternoons were spent in rambles 
about the surrounding country. I made myself familiar with 
all its places famous in history or fable. I knew every spot 
where a murder or robbery had been committed, or a ghost 
seen. I visited the neighboring villages, and added greatly to 
my stock of knowledge, by noting their habits and customs, and 
conversing with their sages and great men. I even journeyed 
one long summer's day to the summit of the most distant hill, 
whence I stretched my eye over many a mile of terra incog- 
nita, and was astonished to find how vast a globe I inhab- 

This rambling propensity strengthened with my years. Books 
of voyages and travels became my passion, and in devouring 
their contents, I neglected the regular exercises of the school. 
How wistfully would I wander about the pier heads in fine 
weather, and watch the parting ships, bound to distant climes 
with what longing eyes would I gaze after their lessening sails, 
and waft myself in imagination to the ends of the earth ! 

Further reading and thinking, though they brought this vague 
inclination into more reasonable bounds, only served to make 
it more decided. I visited various parts of my own country ; 
and had I been merely a lover of fine scenery, I should have 


felt little desire to seek elsewhere its gratification : for on 
no country have the charms of nature been more prodigally 
lavished. Her mighty lakes, like oceans of liquid silver ; her 
mountains, with their bright aerial tints ; her valleys, teeming 
with wild fertility ; her tremendous cataracts, thundering in their 
solitudes ; her boundless plains, waving with spontaneous ver- 
dure ; her broad deep rivers, rolling in solemn silence to the 
ocean ; her trackless forests, where vegetation puts forth all its 
magnificence ; her skies, kindling with the magic of summer 
clouds and glorious sunshine : no, never need an American 
look beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of 
natural scenery. 

But Europe held forth the charms of storied and poetical 
association. There were to be seen the masterpieces of art, the 
refinements of highly cultivated society, the quaint peculiarities 
of ancient and local custom. My native country was full of 
youthful promise ; Europe was rich in the accumulated treasures 
of age. Her very ruins told the history of times gone by, and 
every mouldering stone was a chronicle. I longed to wander 
over the scenes of renowned achievement to tread, as it were, 
in the footsteps of antiquity to loiter about the ruined castle 
to meditate on the falling tower to escape, in short, from 
the commonplace realities of the present, and lose myself among 
the shadowy grandeurs of the past. 

I had, beside all this, an earnest desire to see the great men 
of the earth. We have, it is true, our great men in America : 
not a city but has an ample share of them. I have mingled 
among them in my time, and been almost withered by the shade 
into which they cast me ; for there is nothing so baleful to a 
small man as the shade of a great one, particularly the great 
man of a city. But I was anxious to see the great men of 
Europe ; for I had read in the works of various philosophers, 
that all animals degenerated in America, and man among the 
number. A great man of Europe, thought I, must therefore be 
as superior to a great man of America as a peak of the Alps to 
a highland of the Hudson ; and in this idea I was confirmed, by 
observing the comparative importance and swelling magnitude 
of many English travellers among us, who, I was assured, were 
very little people in their own country. I will visit this land of 
wonders, thought I, and see the gigantic race from which I am 

It has been either my good or evil lot to have my roving 
passion gratified. I have wandered through different countries, 
and witnessed many of the shifting scenes of life. I cannot 


say that I have studied them with the eye of a philosopher, but 
rather with the sauntering gaze with which humble lovers of 
the picturesque stroll from the window of one print-shop to an- 
other ; caught sometimes by the delineations of beauty, some- 
times by the distortions of caricature, and sometimes by the 
loveliness of landscape. As it is the fashion for modern tour- 
ists to travel pencil in hand, and bring home their portfolios 
filled with sketches, I am disposed to get up a few for the en- 
tertainment of my friends. When, however, I look over the 
hints and memorandums I have taken down for the purpose, 
my heart almost fails me, at finding how my idle humor has led 
me aside from the great objects studied by every regular travel- 
ler who would make a book. I fear I shall give equal disap- 
pointment with an unlucky landscape-painter, who had travelled 
on the Continent, but following the bent of his vagrant inclina- 
tion, had sketched in nooks, and corners, and by-places. His 
sketch-book was accordingly crowded with cottages, and land- 
scapes, and obscure ruins ; but he had neglected to paint St. 
Peter's, or the Coliseum ; the Cascade of Terni, or the Bay of 
Naples ; and had not a single glacier or volcano in his whole 
collection . 




" I have no wife nor children, good or bad, to provide for. A mere spectator of other 
men's fortunes and adventures, and how they play their parts; which, methiuks, are 
diversely presented unto me, as from a common theater or scene." BURTON, 


Ships, ships, I will descrie you 
Amidst the main, 

I will come and try you, 

What you are protecting, 

And projecting, 

"What's your end and aim. 
One goes abroad for merchandise and trading, 
Another stays to keep his country from invading, 
A third is coming home with rich and wealthy lading, 
Hallo! my faucie, whither wilt thou go? OLD POEM. 

To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he has to 
make is an excellent preparative. The temporary absence of 
worldly scenes and employments produces a state of mind pe- 
culiarly fitted to receive new and vivid impressions. The vast 
space of waters that separates the hemispheres is like a blank 
page in existence. There is no gradual transition by which, as 
in Europe, the features and population of one country blend 
almost imperceptibly with those of another. From the moment 
you lose sight of the land you have left, all is vacancy, until 
you step on the opposite shore, and are launched at once into 
the bustle and novelties of another world. 

In travelling by land there is a continuity of scene, and a 
connected succession of persons and incidents, that carry on 
the story of life, and lessen the effect of absence and sepa- 



ration. We drag, it is true, "a lengthening chain" at each 
remove of our pilgrimage; but the chain is unbroken; we 
can trace it back link by link; and we feel that the last 
still grapples us to home. But a wide sea voyage severs us 
at once. It makes us conscious of being cast loose from the 
secure anchorage of settled life, and sent adrift upon a doubtful 
world. It interposes a gulf, not merely imaginary, but real, 
between us and our homes a gulf, subject to tempest, and 
fear, and uncertainty, rendering distance palpable, and return 

Such, at least, was the case with myself. As I saw the last 
blue line of my native land fade away like a cloud in the hori- 
zon, it seemed as if I had closed one volume of the world and 
its concerns, and had time for meditation, before I opened 
another. That land, too, now vanishing from my view, which 
contained all most dear to me in life ; what vicissitudes might 
occur in it what changes might take place in me, before 
I should visit it again ! Who can tell, when he sets forth to 
wander, whither he may be driven by the uncertain currents of 
existence ; or when he may return ; or whether it may ever be 
his lot to revisit the scenes of his childhood ? 

I said, that at sea all is vacancy : I should correct the expres- 
sion. To one given to day dreaming, and fond of losing him- 
self in reveries, a sea voyage is full of subjects for meditation j 
but then they are the wonders of the deep and of the air, and 
rather tend to abstract the mind from worldly themes. I de- 
lighted to loll over the quarter-railing or climb to the main-top, 
of a calm day, and muse for hours together on the tranquil 
bosom of a summer sea ; to gaze upon the piles of golden 
clouds just peering above the horizon ; fancy them some fairy 
realms, and people them with a creation of my own ; to watch 
the gentle undulating billows, rolling their silver volumes, as if 
to die away on those happy shores. 

There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe 
with which I looked down, from my giddy height, on the mon- 
sters of the deep at their uncouth gambols : shoals of porpoises 
tumbling about the bow of the ship ; the grampus slowly heav- 
ing his huge form above the surface ; or the ravenous shark, 
darting like a spectre, through the blue waters. My imagina- 
tion would conjure up all that I had heard or read of the watery 
world beneath me : of the finny herds that roam its fathomless 
valleys ; of the shapeless monsters that lurk among the very 
foundations of the earth, and of those wild phantasms that 
swell the tales of fishermen and sailors. 


Sometimes a distant sail, gliding along the edge of the ocean, 
would be another theme of idle speculation. How interesting 
this fragment of a world, hastening to rejoin the great mass of 
existence ! What a glorious monument of human invention ; 
which has in a manner triumphed over wind and wave ; has 
brought the ends of the world into communion ; has established 
an interchange of blessings, pouring into the sterile regions of 
the north all the luxuries of the south ; has diffused the light of 
knowledge, and the charities of cultivated life; and has thus 
bound together those scattered portions of the human race, between 
which nature seemed to have thrown an insurmountable barrier. 

We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a dis- 
tance. At sea, every thing that breaks the monotony of the 
surrounding expanse attracts attention. It proved to be the 
mast of a ship that must have been completely wrecked ; for 
there were the remains of handkerchiefs, by which some of the 
crew had fastened themselves to this spar, to prevent their 
being washed off by the waves. There was no trace by which 
the name of the ship could be ascertained. The wreck had 
evidently drifted about for many months ; clusters of shell-fish 
had fastened abont it, and long sea-weeds flaunted at its sides. 
But where, thought I, is the crew? Their struggle has long 
been over they have gone down amidst the roar of the tem- 
pest their bones lie whitening among the caverns of the deep. 
Silence, oblivion, like the waves, have closed over them, and 
no one can tell the story of their end. What sighs have been 
wafted after that ship ; what prayers offered up at the deserted 
fireside of home ! How often has the mistress, the wife, the 
mother, pored over the daily news, to catch some casual intelli- 
gence of this rover of the deep ! How has expectation darkened 
into anxiety anxiety into dread and dread into despair ! 
Alas! not one memento may ever return for love to cherish. 
All that may ever be known, is, that she sailed from her port, 
" and was never heard of more ! " 

The sight of this wreck, as usual, gave rise to many dismal 
anecdotes. This was particularly the case in the evening, when 
the weather, which had hitherto been fair, began to look wild 
and threatening, and gave indications of one of those sudden 
storms which will sometimes break in upon the serenity of a 
summer voyage. As we sat round the dull light of a lamp, in 
the cabin, that made the gloom more ghastly, every one had 
his tale of shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck 
with a short one related by the captain. 

" As I was once sailing," said he, u in a fine, stout ship, across 


the banks of Newfoundland, one of those heavy fogs which pre- 
vail in those parts rendered it impossible for us to see far ahead, 
even in the daytime; but at night the weather was so thick 
that we could not distinguish any object at twice the length of 
the ship. I kept lights at the mast-head, and a constant watch 
forward to look out for fishing smacks, which are accustomed 
to lie at anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smack- 
ing breeze, and we were going at a great rate through the 
water. Suddenly the watch gave the alarm of * a sail ahead ! ' 
it was scarcely uttered before we were upon her. She was a 
small schooner, at anchor, with her broadside toward us. The 
crew were all asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. We 
struck her just amid-ships. The force, the size, and weight of 
our vessel, bore her down below the waves ; we passed over her 
and were hurried on our course. As the crashing wreck was 
sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of two or three half-naked 
wretches, rushing from her cabin ; they just started from their 
beds to be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I heard their 
drowning cry mingling with the wind. The blast that bore it 
to our ears, swept us out of all farther hearing. I shall never 
forget that cry ! It was some time before we could put the ship 
about, she was under such headway. We returned as nearly 
as we could guess, to the place where the smack had anchored. 
We cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired 
signal-guns, and listened if we might hear the halloo of any 
survivors ; but all was silent we never saw or heard any thing 
of them more." 

I confess these stories, for a time, put an end to all my fine 
fancies. The storm increased with the night. The sea was 
lashed into tremendous confusion. There was a fearful, sullen 
sound of rushing waves and broken surges. Deep called unto 
deep. At times the black volume of clouds overhead seemed 
rent asunder by flashes of lightning which quivered along the 
foaming billows, and made the succeeding darkness doubly 
terrible. The thunders bellowed over the wild waste of waters, 
and were echoed and prolonged by the mountain waves. As I 
saw the ship staggering and plunging among these roaring 
caverns, it seemed miraculous that she regained her balance, or 
preserved her buoyancy. Her yards would dip into the water ; 
her bow was almost buried beneath the waves. Sometimes an 
impending surge appeared ready to overwhelm her, and nothing 
but a dexterous movement of the helm preserved her from the 

When I retired to my cabin, the awful scene still followed 


me. The whistling of the wind through the rigging sounded 
like funereal wailings. The creaking of the masts ; the strain- 
ing and groaning of bulkheads, as the ship labored in the 
weltering sea, were frightful As I heard the waves rushing 
along the sides of the ship, and roaring in my very ear, it seemed 
as if Death were raging round this floating prison, seeking for 
his prey : the mere starting of a nail, the yawning of a seam, 
might give him entrance. 

A fine day, however, with a tranquil sea and favoring 
breeze, soon put all these dismal reflections to flight. It is 
impossible to resist the gladdening influence of fine weather and 
fair wind at sea. When the ship is decked out in all her canvas, 
every sail swelled, and careering gayly over the curling waves, 
how lofty, how gallant, she appears how she seems to lord it 
over the deep ! I might fill a volume with the reveries of a sea 
voyage ; for with me it is almost a continual reverie but it is 
time to get to shore. 

It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of " land ! " 
was given from the mast-head. None but those who have ex- 
perienced it can form an idea of the delicious throng of sensa- 
tions which rush into an American's bosom when he first comes 
in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations with the 
very name. It is the land of promise, teeming with every thing 
of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years 
have pondered. 

From that time, until the moment of arrival, it was all fever- 
ish excitement. The ships of war, that prowled like guardian 
giants along the coast ; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out 
into the channel ; the Welsh mountains, towering into the 
clouds ; all were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up 
the Mersey, I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My 
eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrub- 
beries and green grass-plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an 
abbey overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church 
rising from the brow of a neighboring hill all were charac- 
teristic of England. 

The tide and wind were so favorable, that the ship was 
enabled to come at once to the pier. It was thronged with 
people ; some idle lookers-on, others eager expectants of friends 
or relatives. I could distinguish the merchant to whom the 
ship was consigned. I knew him by his calculating brow and 
restless air. His hands were thrust into his pockets, he was 
whistling thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space 
having been accorded him by the crowd, in deference to his 


temporary importance. There were repeated cheerings and 
salutations interchanged between the shore and the ship, as 
friends happened to recognize each other. I particularly 
noticed one young woman of humble dress, but interesting de- 
meanor. She was leaning forward from among the crowd ; 
her eye hurried over the ship as it neared the shore, to catch 
some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed and 
agitated; when I heard a faint voice call her name. It was 
from a poor sailor who had been ill all the voyage, and had ex- 
cited the sympathy of every one on board. When the weather 
was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck 
in the shade, but of late his illness had so increased that he had 
taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that he might 
see his wife before he died. He had been helped on deck as 
we came up the river, and was now leaning against the shrouds, 
with a countenance so wasted, so pale, so ghastly, that it was 
no wonder even the eye of affection did not recognize him. 
But at the sound of his voice, her eye darted on his features ; 
it read, at once, a whole volume of sorrow ; she clasped her 
hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in silent 

All now was hurry and bustle. The meetings of acquaint- 
ances the greetings of friends the consultations of men of 
business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had no friend to 
meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon the land of my 
forefathers but felt that I was a stranger in the land. 


In the service of mankind to be 

A guardian god below ; still to employ 

The mind's brave ardor in heroic aims, 

Such as may raise us o'er the grovelling herd, 

And make us shine for ever that is life. THOMSOX. 

ONE of the first places to which a stranger is taken in Liver- 
pool, is the Athenseum. It is established on a liberal and 
judicious plan ; it contains a good library, and spacious read- 
ing-room, and is the great literary resort of the place. Go 
there at what hour you may, you are sure to find it filled with 
grave-looking personages, deeply absorbed in the study of 
newspapers. * 


As I was once visiting this haunt of the learned, my attention 
was attracted to a person just entering the room. He was ad- 
vanced in life, tall, and of a form that might once have been 
commanding, but it was a little bowed by time perhaps by 
care. He had a noble Roman style of countenance ; a head 
that would have pleased a painter ; and though some slight 
furrows on his brow showed that wasting thought had been 
busy there, yet his eye still beamed with the fire of a poetic 
soul. There was something in his whole appearance that indi- 
cated a being of a different order from the bustling race around 

I inquired his name, and was informed that it was ROSCOE. 
I drew back with an involuntary feeling of veneration. This, 
then, was an author of celebrity ; this was one of those men 
whose voices have gone forth to the ends of the earth ; with 
whose minds I have communed even in the solitudes of Amer- 
ica. Accustomed, as we are in our country, to know European 
writers only by their works, we cannot conceive of them, as of 
other men, engrossed by trivial or sordid pursuits, and jostling 
with the crowd of common minds in the dusty paths of life. 
They pass before our imaginations like superior beings, radiant 
with the emanations of their genius, and surrounded by a halo 
of literary .glory. 

To find, therefore, the elegant historian of the Medici min- 
gling among the busy sons of traffic, at first shocked my poeti- 
cal ideas ; but it is from the very circumstances and situation 
in which he has been placed, that Mr. Roscoe derives his high- 
est claims to admiration. It is interesting to notice how some 
minds seem almost to create themselves ; springing up under 
every disadvantage, and working their solitary but irresistible 
way through a thousand obstacles. Nature seems to delight in 
disappointing the assiduities of art, with which it would rear 
legitimate dulness to maturity ; and to glory in the vigor and 
luxuriance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds 
of genius to the winds, and though some may perish among the 
stony places of the world, and some be choked by the thorns 
and brambles of early adversity, yet others will now and then 
strike root even in the clefts of the rock, struggle bravely up 
into sunshine, and spread over their sterile birthplace all the 
beauties of vegetation. 

Such has been the case with Mr. Roscoe. Born in a place 
apparently ungenial to the growth of literary talent ; in the very 
market-place of trade ; without fortune, family connections, or 
patronage ; self -prbmp ted, self-sustained, and almost self-taught, 


he has conquered every obstacle, achieved his way to eminence, 
and having become one of the ornaments of the nation, has 
turned the whole force of his talents and influence to advance 
and embellish his native town. 

Indeed, it is this last trait in his character which has given 
him the greatest interest in my eyes, and induced me particu- 
larly to point him out to my countrymen. Eminent as are his 
literary merits, he is but one among the many distinguished 
authors of this intellectual nation. They, however, in general, 
live but for their own fame, or their own pleasures. Their 
private history presents no lesson to the world, or, perhaps, a 
humiliating one of human frailty and inconsistency. At best, 
they are prone to steal away from the bustle and commonplace 
of busy existence ; to indulge in the selfishness of lettered ease ; 
and to revel in scenes of mental, but exclusive enjoyment. 

Mr. Roscoe, on the contrar}-, has claimed none of the accorded 
privileges of talent. He has shut himself up in no garden of 
thought, nor elysium of fancy ; but has gone forth into the high- 
wa}'s and thoroughfares of life, he has planted bowers by the 
way-side, for the refreshment of the pilgrim and the sojourner, 
and has opened pure fountains, where the laboring man may 
turn aside from the dust and heat of the day, and drink of the 
living streams of knowledge. There is a " daily beauty in his 
life," on which mankind may meditate, and grow better. It 
exhibits no lofty and almost useless, because inimitable, ex- 
ample of excellence ; but presents a picture of active, yet sim- 
ple and mutable virtues, which are within every man's reach, but 
which, unfortunately, are not exercised by many, or this world 
would be a paradise. 

But his private life is peculiarly worthy the attention of the 
citizens of our young and busy country, where literature and 
the elegant arts must grow up side by side with the coarser 
plants of daily necessity ; and must depend for their culture, 
not on the exclusive devotion of time and wealth ; nor the 
quickening rays of titled patronage ; but on hours and seasons 
snatched from the pursuit of worldly interests, by intelligent 
and public-spirited individuals. 

He has shown how much may be done for a place in hours of 
leisure by one master spirit, and how completely it can give its 
own impress to surrounding objects. Like his own Lorenzo de 
Medici, on whom he seems to have fixed his eye, as on a pure 
model of antiquity, he has interwoven the history of his life 
with the history of his native town, and has made the founda- 
tions of its fame the monuments of his virtues. Wherever you 


go, in Liverpool, yon perceive traces of his footsteps in all that 
is elegant and liberal. He found the tide of wealth flowing 
merely in the channels of traffic ; he has diverted from it invig- 
orating rills to refresh the gardens of literature. By his own 
example and constant exertions, he has effected that union of 
commerce and the intellectual pursuits, so eloquently recom- 
mended in one of his latest writings ; l and has practically 
proved how beautifully they may be brought to harmonize, and 
to benefit each other. The noble institutions for literary and 
scientific purposes, which reflect such credit on Liverpool, and 
are giving such an impulse to the public mind, have mostly 
been originated, and have all been effectively promoted by Mr. 
Roscoe : and when we consider the rapidly increasing opulence 
and magnitude of that town, which promises to vie in commer- 
cial importance with the metropolis, it will be perceived that in 
awakening an ambition of mental improvement among its in- 
habitants, he has effected a great benefit to the cause of British 

In America, we know Mr. Roscoe only as the author in 
Liverpool he is spoken of as the banker ; and I was told of his 
having been unfortunate in business. I could not pity him, as 
I heard some rich men do. I considered him far above the 
reach of pity. Those who live only for the world, and in 
the world, may be cast down by the frowns of adversity ; but 
a man like Roscoe is not to be overcome by the reverses of for- 
tune. They do but drive him in upon the resources of his own 
mind ; to the superior society of his own thoughts ; which the 
best of men are apt sometimes to neglect, and to roam abroad 
in search of less worthy associates. He is independent of the 
world around him. He lives with antiquity and posterity : with 
antiquity, in the sweet communion of studious retirement ; and 
with posterity in the generous aspirings after future renown. 
The solitude of such a mind is its state of highest enjoyment. 
It is then visited by those elevated meditations which are the 
proper aliment of noble souls, and are, like manna, sent from 
heaven, in the wilderness of this world. 

While my feelings were yet alive on the subject, it was my 
fortune to light on further traces of Mr. Roscoe. I was riding 
out with a gentleman, to view the environs of Liverpool, when 
he turned off, through a gate, into some ornamented grounds. 
After riding a short distance, we came to a spacious mansion 
of freestone, built in the Grecian style. It was not in the purest 

1 Address on the opening of the Liverpool Institution. 


taste, yet it had an air of elegance, and the situation was de- 
lightful. A fine lawn sloped away from it, studded with clumps 
of trees, so disposed as to break a soft fertile country into a 
variety of landscapes. The Mersey was seen winding a broad 
quiet sheet of water through an expanse of green meadow land ; 
while the Welsh mountains, blende'd with clouds, and melting 
into distance, bordered the horizon. 

This was Roscoe's favorite residence during the days of his 
prosperity. It had been the seat of elegant hospitality and lit- 
erary retirement. .The house was now silent and deserted. I 
saw the windows of the study, which looked out upon the soft 
scenery I have mentioned. The windows were closed the 
library was gone. Two or three ill-favored beings were loiter- 
ing about the place, whom rny fancy pictured into retainers of 
the law. It was like visiting some classic fountain that had 
once welled its pure waters in a sacred shade, but finding it dry 
and dusty, with the lizard and the toad brooding over the shat- 
tered marbles. 

I inquired after the fate of Mr. Roscoe's library, which had 
consisted of scarce and foreign books, from many of which he 
had drawn the materials for his Italian histories. It had passed 
under the hammer of the auctioneer, and was dispersed about 
the country. 

The good people of the vicinity thronged like wreckers to 
get some part of the noble vessel that had been driven on shore. 
Did such a scene admit of ludicrous associations, we might 
imagine something whimsical in this strange irruption in the 
regions of learning. Pigmies rummaging the armory of a giant, 
and contending for the possession of weapons which they could 
not wield. We might picture to ourselves some knot of specu- 
lators, debating with calculating brow over the quaint binding 
and illuminated margin of an obsolete author ; of the air of in- 
tense, but baffled sagacity, with which some successful purchaser 
attempted to dive into the, black-letter bargain he had secured. 

It is a beautiful incident in the story of Mr. Roscoe's misfor- 
tunes, and one which cannot fail to interest the studious mind, 
that the parting with his books seems to have touched upon his 
tenderest feelings, and to have been the only circumstance that 
could provoke the notice of his muse. The scholar only knows 
how dear these silent, yet eloquent, companions of pure thoughts 
and innocent hours become in the seasons of adversity. When 
all that is worldly turns to dross around us, these only retain 
their steady value. When friends grow cold, and the converse 
of intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, 


these only continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, 
and cheer us with that true friendship which never deceived 
hope, nor deserted sorrow. 

I do not wish to censure ; but, surely, if the people of Liver- 
pool had been properly sensible of what was due to Mr. Roscoe 
and themselves, his library would never have been sold. Good 
worldly reasons may, doubtless, be given for the circumstance, 
which it would be difficult to combat with others that might 
seem merely fanciful ; but it certainly appears to me such an 
opportunity as seldom occurs, of cheering a noble mind strug- 
gling under misfortunes by one of the most delicate, but most 
expressive tokens of public sympathy. It is difficult, however, 
to estimate a man of genius properly who is daily before our 
eyes. He becomes mingled and confounded with other men. 
His great qualities lose their novelty, we become too familiar 
with the common materials which form the basis even of the 
loftiest character. Some of Mr. Roscoe's townsmen may regard 
him merely as a man of business ; others as a politician ; all 
find him engaged like themselves in ordinary occupations, and 
surpassed, perhaps, by themselves on some points of worldly 
wisdom. Even that amiable and unostentatious simplicity of 
character, which gives the nameless grace to real excellence, 
may cause him to be undervalued by some coarse minds, who 
do not know that true worth is always void of glare and preten- 
sion. But the man of letters who speaks of Liverpool, speaks 
of it as the residence of Roscoe. The intelligent traveller who 
visits it, inquires where Roscoe is to be seen. He is the liter- 
ary landmark of the place, indicating its existence to the distant 
scholar. He is like Pompey's column at Alexandria, towering 
alone in classic dignity. 

The following sonnet, addressed by Mr. Roscoe to his books, 
on parting with them, is alluded to in the preceding article. If 
any thing can add effect to the pure feeling and elevated thought 
here displayed, it is the conviction, that the whole is no effusion 
of fancy, but a faithful transcript from the writer's heart : 


As one, who, destined from his friends to part, 
Regrets his loss, but hopes again erewhile 
To share their converse, and enjoy their smile, 

And tempers, as he may, affliction's dart; 

Thus, loved associates, chiefs of elder art, 

Teachers of wisdom, who could once beguile 
My tedious hours, and lighten every toil, 

I now resign you ; nor with fainting heart ; 


For pass a few short years, or days, or hours, 

And happier seasons may their dawn unfold, 
And all your sacred fellowship restore; 

When freed from earth, unlimited its powers, 
Mind shall with mind direct communion hold, 

And kindred spirits meet to part no more. 


The treasures of the deep are not so precious 
As are the concealed comforts of a man 
Lock'd up in woman's love. I scent the air 
Of blessings, when I come but near the house. 
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth 
The violet bed's not sweeter! 


I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which 
women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. 
Those disasters which break down the spirit of a man, and 
prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of 
the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their 
character, that at times it approaches to sublimity. Nothing 
can be more touching, than to behold a soft and tender female, 
who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every 
trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous paths of life, 
suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and sup- 
porter of her husband under misfortune, and abiding, with un- 
shrinking firmness, the bitterest blasts of adversity. 

As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about 
the oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, when the 
hard3 T plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its 
caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs ; so is it 
beautifully ordered by Providence, that woman, who is the 
mere dependent and ornament of man in his happier hours, 
should be his stay and solace when smitten with sudden calam- 
ity ; winding herself into the rugged recesses of his nature, 
tenderly supporting the drooping head, and binding up the 
broken heart. 

I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him a 
blooming family, knit together in the strongest affection. " I 
can wish you no better lot," said he, with enthusiasm, " than 
to have a wife and children. If you are prosperous, there they 
are to share your prosperity ; if otherwise, there they are to 


comfort you." And, indeed, I have observed that a married 
man falling into misfortune, is more apt to retrieve his situation 
in the world than a single one ; partly, because he is more stim- 
ulated to exertion by the necessities of the helpless and be- 
loved beings who depend upon him for subsistence ; but chiefly, 
because his spirits are soothed and relieved by domestic endear- 
ments, and his self-respect kept alive by finding, that though 
all abroad is darkness and humiliation, yet there is still a little 
world of love at home, of which he is the monarch. Whereas, 
a single man is apt to run to waste and self-neglect ; to fancy 
himself lonely and abandoned, and his heart to fall to ruin, like 
some deserted mansion, for want of an inhabitant. 

These observations call to mind a little domestic story, of 
which I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Leslie, had 
married a beautiful and accomplished girl, who had been 
brought up in the midst of fashionable life. She had, it is 
true, no fortune, but that of my friend was ample ; and he 
delighted in the anticipation of indulging her in every elegant 
pursuit, and administering to those delicate tastes and fancies 
that spread a kind of witchery about the sex. "Her life," 
said he, " shall be like a fairy tale." 

The very difference in their characters produced a harmonious 
combination ; he was of a romantic, and somewhat serious cast ; 
she was all life and gladness. I have often noticed the mute 
rapture with which he would gaze upon her in company, of 
which her sprightly powers made her the delight ; and how, in 
the midst of applause, her eye would still turn to him, as if 
there alone she sought favor and acceptance. When leaning 
on his arm, her slender form contrasted finely with his tall, 
manly person. The fond confiding air with which she looked 
up to him seemed to call forth a flush of triumphant pride and 
cherishing tenderness, as if he doted on his lovely burden for 
its very helplessness. Never did a couple set forward on the 
flowery path of early and well-suited marriage with a fairer 
prospect of felicity. 

It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have em- 
barked his property in large speculations ; and he had not been 
married many months, when, by a succession of sudden disas- 
ters, it was swept from him, and he found himself reduced al- 
most to penury. For a time he kept his situation to himself, 
and went about with a haggard -countenance, and a breaking 
heart. His life was but a protracted agony ; and what ren- 
dered it more insupportable was the necessity of keeping up a 
smile in the presence of his wife ; for he could not bring him' 


self to overwhelm her with the news. She saw, however, with 
the quick eyes of affection, that all was not well with him. She 
marked his altered looks and stifled sighs, and was not to be 
deceived by his sickly and vapid attempts at cheerfulness. She 
tasked all her sprightly powers and tender blandishments to 
win him back to happiness ; but she only drove the arrow 
deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause to love her, the 
more torturing was the thought that he was soon to make her 
wretched. A little while, thought he, and the smile will vanish 
from that cheek the song will die away from those lips the 
lustre of those eyes will be quenched with sorrow and the 
happy heart which now beats lightly in that bosom, will be 
weighed down, like mine, by the cares and miseries of the 

At length he came to me one day, and related his whole 
situation in a tone of the deepest despair. When I had heard 
him through, I inquired, " Does your wife know all this? " At 
the question he burst into an agony of tears. "For God's 
sake ! " cried he, " if you have any pity on me, don't mention 
my wife ; it is the thought of her that drives me almost to 
madness ! " 

"And why not?" said I. "She must know it sooner or 
later : you cannot keep it long from her, and the intelligence 
may break upon her in a more startling manner than if impartec] 
by yourself ; for the accents of those we love soften the harshest 
tidings. Besides, you are depriving yourself of the comforts of 
her sympathy ; and not merely that, but also endangering the 
only bond that can keep hearts together an unreserved com- 
munity of thought and feeling. She will soon perceive that 
something is secretly preying upon your mind ; and true love 
will not brook reserve : it feels undervalued and outraged, 
when even the sorrows of those it loves are concealed from it." 

" Oh, but my friend ! to think what a blow I am .to give to 
all her future prospects how I am to strike her very soul to 
the earth, by telling her that her husband is a beggar ! that 
she is to forego all the elegancies of life all the pleasures of 
society to shrink with me into indigence and obscurity ! To 
tell her that I have dragged her down from the sphere in which 
she might have continued to move in constant brightness the 
light of every eye the admiration of every heart ! How can 
she bear poverty ? She has been brought up in all the refine- 
ments of opulence. How can she bear neglect? She has been 
the idol of society. Oh, it will break her heart it will break 
her heart! " 


I saw his grief was eloquent, and I let it have its flow ; for 
sorrow relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm had sub- 
sided, and he had relapsed into moody silence, I resumed the 
subject gently, and urged him to break his situation at once to 
his wife. He shook his head mournfully, but positively. 

" But how are you to keep it from her? It is necessary she 
should know it, that you may take the steps proper to the 
alteration of your circumstances. You must change your style 
of living nay," observing a pang to pass across his coun- 
tenance, "don't let that afflict you. I am sure you have 
never placed your happiness in outward show you have yet 
friends, warm friends, who will not think the worse of you for 
being less splendidly lodged : and surely it does not require a 
palace to be happy with Mary " "I could be happy with 
her," cried he, convulsively, " in a hovel! I could go down 
with her into poverty and the dust ! I could I could God 
bless her! God bless her!" cried he, bursting into a trans- 
port of grief and tenderness. 

"And believe me, my friend," said I, stepping up, and 
grasping him warmly by the hand, " believe me, she can be the 
same with 3^011. Ay, more : it will be a source of pride and 
triumph to her it will call forth all the latent energies and 
fervent sympathies of her nature ; for she will rejoice to prove 
that she loves you for yourself. There is in every true 
woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in 
the broad daylight of prosperity ; but which kindles up, and 
beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity. No man 
knows what the wife of his bosom is no man knows what a 
ministering angel she is until he has gone with her through 
the fiery trials of this world." 

There was something in the earnestness of my manner, and 
the figurative style of my language, that caught the excited 
imagination of Leslie. I knew the .ciiiditor I had to deal with ; 
and following up the impression I had made, I finished by per- 
suading him to go home and unburden his sad heart to his 

I must confess, notwithstanding all I had said, I felt some 
little solicitude fo.r the result. Who can calculate on the forti- 
tude of one whose life has been a round of pleasures? Her 
gay spirits might revolt at the dark, downward path of low 
humility, suddenly pointed out before her, and might cling 
to the sunny regions in which they had hitherto revelled. 
Besides, ruin in fashionable life is accompanied by so many 
galling mortifications, to which, in other ranks, it is a stranger. 


In short, I could not meet Leslie, the next morning, without 
trepidation. He had made the disclosure. 

" And how did she bear it? " 

" Like an angel ! It seemed rather to be a relief to her 
mind, for she threw her arms round my neck, and asked if 
this was all that had lately made me unhappy. But, poor 
girl," added he, " she cannot realize the change we must 
undergo. She has no idea of poverty but in the abstract : she 
has only read of it in poetry, where it is allied to love. She 
feels as yet no privation : she suffers no loss of accustomed 
conveniences nor elegancies. When we come practically to 
experience its sordid cares, its paltry wants, its petty humilia- 
tions then will be the real trial." 

"But," said I, "now that you have got over the severest 
task, that of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the world 
into the secret the better. The disclosure may be mortifying ; 
but then it is a single misery, and soon over ; whereas you 
otherwise suffer it, in anticipation, ever} T hour in the day. It 
is not poverty, so much as pretence, that harasses a ruined man 

the struggle between a proud mind and an empty purse 
the keeping up a hollow show that must soon come to an end. 
Have the courage to appear poor, and you disarm poverty of 
its sharpest sting." On this point I found Leslie perfectly 
prepared. He had no false pride himself, and as to his wife, 
she was only anxious to conform to their altered fortunes. 

Some days afterwards, he called upon me in the evening. 
He had disposed of his dwelling-house, and taken a small cot- 
tage in the country, a few miles from town. He had been 
busied all day in sending out furniture. The new establish- 
ment required few articles, and those of the simplest kind. 
All the splendid furniture of his late residence had been sold, 
excepting his wife's harp. That, he said, was too closely asso- 
ciated with the idea of herself ; it belonged to the little story 
of their loves ; for some of the sweetest moments of their 
courtship were those when he had leaned over that instrument, 
and listened to the melting tones of her voice. I could not 
but smile at this instance of romantic gallantry in a doting 

He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had 
been all day, superintending its arrangement. My feelings 
had become strongly interested in the progress of this family 
story, and as it was a fine evening, I offered to accompany him. 

He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as we 
walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing. 


" Poor Mary ! " at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from his 

"And what of her," asked I, "has any thing happened to 

"What," said he, darting an impatient glance, "is it noth- 
ing to be reduced to this paltry situation to be caged in a 
miserable cottage to be obliged to toil almost in the menial 
concerns of her wretched habitation? " 

" Has she then repined at the change? " 

"Repined! she has been nothing but sweetness and good 
humor. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever 
known her ; she has been to ine all love, and tenderness, and 
comfort ! " 

" Admirable girl ! " exclaimed I. " You call yourself poor, 
my friend ; you never were so rich you never knew the bound- 
less treasures of excellence you possess in that wonian." 

"Oh! but my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage 
were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this is 
her first day of real experience : she has been introduced into 
a humble dwelling she has been employed all day in arran- 
ging its miserable equipments she has for the first time known 
the fatigues of domestic employment she has for the first 
time looked round her on a home destitute of every thing ele- 
gant almost of every thing convenient ; and may now be 
sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect 
of future poverty." 

There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could 
not gainsay, so we walked on in silence. 

After turning from the main road, up a narrow lane, so 
thickly shaded with forest trees as to give it a complete air of 
seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was humble 
enough in its appearance for the most pastoral poet ; and yet 
it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine had overrun one end 
with a profusion of foliage ; a few trees threw their branches 
gracefully over it ; and I observed several pots of flowers taste- 
fully disposed about the door, and on the grass-plot in front. 
A small wicket-gate opened upon a footpath that wound through 
some shrubbery to the door. Just as we .approached, we heard 
the sound of music Leslie grasped my arm ; we paused and 
listened. It was Mary's voice, singing, in a style of the most 
touching simplicuy, a little air of which her husband was pecul- 
iarly fond. 

I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forward, 
to hear more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel- 


walk. A bright beautiful face glanced out at the window, and 
vanished a light footstep was heard and Mary came trip- 
ping forth to meet us. She was in a pretty rural dress of 
white ; a few wild flowers were twisted in her tine hair ; a fresh 
bloom was on her cheek ; her whole countenance beamed with 
smiles I had never seen her look so lovely. 

" My dear George," cried she, " I am so glad you are come ; 
I have been watching and watching for you ; and running 
down the lane, and looking out for you. I've set out a table 
under a beautiful tree behind the cottage ; and I've been gath- 
ering some of the most delicious strawberries, for I know you 
are fond of them and we have such excellent cream and 
every thing is so sweet and still here. Oh ! " said she, putting 
her arm within his, and looking up brightly in his face, "Oh, 
we shall be so happy ! ' ' 

Poor Leslie was overcome. He caught her to his bosom 
he folded his arms round her he kissed her again and again 
he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his eyes ; and 
he has often assured me that though the world has since gone 
prosperously with him, and his life has indeed been a happy 
one, yet never has he experienced a moment of more exquisite 

[THE following Tale was found among the papers of the late 
Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New- York, who 
was very curious in the Dutch History of the province, and the 
manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers. His 
historical researches, however, did not lie so much among books 
as among men ; for the former are lamentably scanty on his 
favorite topics ; whereas he found the old burghers, and still 
more, their wives, rich in that legendary lore, so invaluable to 
true history. Whenever, therefore, he happened upon a genu- 
ine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its low-roofed farmhouse, 
under a spreading sycamore, he looked upon it as a little 
clasped volume of black-letter, and studied it with the zeal of 
a bookworm. 

The result of all these researches was a history of the prov- 
ince, during the reign of the Dutch governors, which he pub- 
lished some years since. There have been various opinions as 
to the literary character of his work, and, to tell the truth, it 
is not a whit better than it should be. Its chief merit is its 
scrupulous accuracy, which, indeed, was a little questioned, on 


its first appearance, but has since been completely established ; 
and it is now admitted into all historical collections, as a book 
of unquestionable authority. 

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his 
work, and now, that he is dead and gone, it cannot do much 
harm to his memory, to say, that his time might have been 
much better employed in weightier labors. He, however, was 
apt to ride his hobby his own way ; and though it did now and 
then kick up the dust a little in the eyes of his neighbors, and 
grieve the spirit of some friends for whom he felt the truest 
deference and affection, yet his errors and follies are remem- 
bered "more in sorrow than in anger," 1 and it begins to be 
suspected, that he never intended to injure or offend. But 
however his memory may be appreciated by critics, it is still 
held dear by many folk, whose good opinion is well worth 
having ; particularly by certain biscuit-bakers, who have gone 
so far as to imprint his likeness on their new-year cakes, and 
have thus given him a chance for immortality, almost equal to 
the being stamped on a Waterloo medal, or a Queen Anne's 



By Woden, God of Saxons, 

From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday, 

Truth is a thing that ever I will keep 

Unto thylke day in which I creep into 

My sepulchre. CARTWBIGHT. 

WHOEVER has made a voyage up the Hudson, must remem- 
ber the Kaatskill mountains. They are a dismembered branch 
of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west 
of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over 
the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change 
of weather, indeed every hour of the day, produces some change 
in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains ; and they 
are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect 
barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are 
clothed in blu^and purple, and print their bold outlines on the 
clear evening sky ; but sometimes, when the rest of the land- 
scape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors 

f Vide the excellent discourse of G. C. Verplanck, Esq., before the New- York 
Historical Society. 


about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, 
will glow and light up like a crown of glory. 

At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have 
descried the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shin- 
gle roofs gleam among the trees, just where the blue tints of 
the upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer land- 
scape. It is a little village of great antiquity, having been 
founded by some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times of 
the province, just about the beginning of the government of the 
good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace !) and there were 
some of the houses of the original settlers standing within a 
few years, built of small yellow bricks brought from Holland, 
having latticed windows and gable fronts, surmounted with 

In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which 
to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather- 
beaten), there lived many years since, while the country was 
yet a province of Great Britain, a simple, good-natured fellow, 
of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the 
Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days 
of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of fort 
Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial 
character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a 
simple good-natured man ; he was moreover a kind neighbor, 
and an obedient henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter 
circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which 
gained him such universal popularity ; for those men are most 
apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the 
discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are 
rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic 
tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in 
the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. 
A termagant wife ma}', therefore, in some respects, be consid- 
ered a tolerable blessing ; and if so. Rip Van Winkle was thrice 

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good 
wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took 
his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, whenever 
they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to 
lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the 
village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. 
He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them 
to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of 
ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dodging 


about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them hang- 
ing on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thou- 
sand tricks on him with impunity ; and not a dog would bark 
at him throughout the neighborhood. 

The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable 
aversion to all kinds of profitable labor. It could not be from 
the want of assiduity or perseverance ; for he would sit on a 
wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and 
fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be 
encouraged by a single nibble. He would carry a fowling-piece 
on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through woods and 
swamps, and up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or 
wild pigeons. He would never refuse to assist a neighbor, 
even in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all country 
frolics for husking Indian corn or building stone fences. The 
women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their 
errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging 
husbands would not do for them ; in a word, Rip was ready to 
attend to anybody's business but his own ; but as to doing family 
duty, and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible. 

In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm ; it 
was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole coun- 
ty ; every thing about it went wrong, and would go wrong in 
spite of him. His fences were continually falling to pieces ; 
his cow would either go astray, or get among the cabbages ; 
weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than anywhere 
else ; the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had 
some out-door work to do ; so that though his patrimonial 
estate had dwindled away under his management, acre by acre, 
until there was little more left than a mere patch of Indian 
corn and potatoes, yet it was the worst conditioned farm in the 

His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they be- 
longed to nobody. His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his own 
likeness, promised to inherit the habits, with the old clothes of 
his father. He was generally seen trooping like a colt at his 
mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his father's cast-off galli- 
gaskins, which he had much ado to hold up with one hand, as 
a fine lady does her train in bad weather. 

Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, 
of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat 
white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought 
or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a 
pound. If left to himself, he would have whistled life away in 


perfect contentment ; but his wife kept continually dinning in 
his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he 
was bringing on his family. 

Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly going, 
and every thing he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of 
household eloquence. Rip had but one way of replying to all 
lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had grown into 
a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up 
his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always provoked a 
fresh volley from his wife, so that he was fain to draw off his 
forces, and take to the outside of the house the only side 
which, in truth, belongs to a henpecked husband. 

Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as 
much henpecked as his master ; for Dame Van Winkle regarded 
them as companions in idleness, and even looked upon Wolf 
with an evil eye as the cause of his master's going so often 
astray. True it is, in all points of spirit befitting an honorable 
dog, he was as courageous an animal as ever scoured the woods 
but what courage can withstand the ever-during and all-be- 
setting terrors of a woman's tongue? The moment Wolf 
entered the house, his crest fell, his tail drooped to the ground, 
or curled between his legs, he sneaked about with a gallows air, 
casting many a sidelong glance at Dame Van Winkle, and at 
the least flourish of a broomstick or ladle, he would fly to the 
door with yelping precipitation. 

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle, as years 
of matrimony rolled on : a tart temper never mellows with age, 
and a sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with 
constant use. For a long while he used to console himself, 
when driven from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual 
club of the sxiges, philosophers, and other idle personages of 
the village, which held its sessions on a bench before a small 
inn, designated by a rubicund portrait of his majesty George 
the Third. Here they used to sit in the shade, of a long lazy 
summer's day, talking listlessly over village gossip, or telling 
endless sleepy stories about nothing. But it would have been 
worth any statesman's money to have heard the profound discus- 
sions that sometimes took place, when by chance an old news- 
paper fell into their hands, from some passing traveller. How 
solemnly they would listen to the contents, as drawled out by 
Derrick Van Bummel, the schoolmaster, a dapper learned little 
man, who was not to be daunted by the most gigantic word in 
the dictionary ; and how sagely they would deliberate upon 
public events some months after they had taken place. 


The opinions of this junto were completely controlled by 
Nicholas V^edder, a patriarch of the village, and landlord of the 
inn, at the door of which he took his seat from morning till 
night, just moving sufficiently to avoid the sun, and keep in 
the shade of a large tree ; so that the neighbors could tell the 
hour by his movements as accurately as by a sun-dial. It is 
true, he was rarely heard to speak, but smoked his pipe inces- 
santly. His adherents, however (for every great man has his 
adherents), perfectly understood him, and knew how to gather 
his opinions. When any thing that was read or related dis- 
pleased him, he was observed to smoke his pipe vehemently, 
and to send forth short, frequent, and angry puffs ; but when 
pleased, he would inhale the smoke slowly and tranquilly, and 
emit it in light and placid clouds, and sometimes taking the 
pipe from his mouth, and letting the fragrant vapor curl about 
his nose, would gravely nod his head in token of perfect appro- 

From even this strong hold the unlucky Rip was at length 
routed by his termagant wife, who would suddenly break in 
upon the tranquillity of the assemblage, and call the members 
all to nought ; nor was that august personage, Nicholas Vedder 
himself, sacred from the daring tongue of this terrible virago, 
who charged him outright with encouraging her husband in 
habits of idleness. 

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair, and his only 
alternative to escape from the labor of the farm and clamor 
of his wife, was to take gun in hand, and stroll away into 
the woods. Here he would sometimes seat himself at the 
foot of a tree, and share the contents of his wallet with Wolf, 
with whom he sympathized as a fellow-sufferer in persecution. 
" Poor Wolf," he would say, " thy mistress leads thee a dog's 
life of it ; but never mind, my lad, whilst I live thou shalt 
never want a friend to stand by thee ! " Wolf would wag his 
tail, look wistfully in his master's face, and 'if dogs can feel 
pity, I verily believe he reciprocated the sentiment with all his 

In a long ramble of the kind, on a fine autumnal day, Rip 
had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the 
Kaatskill mountains. He was after his favorite sport of 
squirrel- shooting, and the still solitudes had echoed and re- 
echoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he 
threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll covered 
with mountain herbage, that crowned the brow of a precipice. 
From an opening between the trees, he could overlook all the 


lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a 
distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its 
silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud, 
or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on its 
glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands. 

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, 
wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments 
from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted by the reflected 
rays of the setting sun. For some time Rip lay musing on this 
scene ; evening was gradually advancing ; the mountains began 
to throw their long blue shadows over the valleys ; he saw that 
it would be dark long before he could reach the village ; and 
he heaved a heavy sigh when he thought of encountering the 
terrors of Dame Van Winkle. 

As he was about to descend he heard a voice from a distance 
hallooing, " Rip Van Winkle ! Rip Van Winkle ! " He looked 
round, but could see nothing but a crow winging its solitary 
flight across the mountain. He thought his fancy must have 
deceived him, and turned again to descend, when he heard the 
same cry ring through the still evening air, " Rip Van Winkle ! 
Rip Van Winkle!" at the same time Wolf bristled up his 
back, and giving a low growl, skulked to his master's side, 
looking fearfully down into the glen. Rip now felt a vague 
apprehension stealing over him : he looked anxiously in the 
same direction, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling 
up the rocks, and bending under the weight of something he 
carried on his back. He was surprised to see any human being 
in this lonely and unfrequented place, but supposing it to be 
some one of the neighborhood in need of his assistance, he 
hastened down to yield it. 

On nearer approach, he was still more surprised at the singu- 
larity of the stranger's appearance. He was a short square- 
built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled beard. 
His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion a cloth jerkin 
strapped round the waist several pair of breeches, the outer 
one of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons down the 
sides, and bunches at the knees. He bore on his shoulder a 
stout keg, that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip 
to approach and assist him with the load. Though rather shy 
and distrustful of this new acquaintance, Rip complied with 
his usual alacrity, and mutually relieving one another, they 
clambered up a narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of a 
mountain torrent. As they ascended, Rip every now and then 
heard long rolling peals, like distant thunder, that seemed to 


issue out of a deep ravine or rather cleft between lofty rocks, 
toward which their rugged path conducted. He paused for an 
instant, but supposing it to be the muttering of one of those 
transient thunder-showers which often take place in mountain 
heights, he proceeded. Passing through the ravine, they came 
to a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, surrounded by perpen- 
dicular precipices, over the brinks of which, impending trees 
shot their branches, so that you only caught glimpses of the 
azure sky, and the bright evening cloud. During the whole 
time, Rip and his companion had labored on in silence ; for 
though the former marvelled greatly what could be the object 
of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild mountain, yet there was 
something strange and incomprehensible about the unknown, 
that inspired awe, and checked familiarity. 

On entering the amphitheatre, new objects of wonder pre- 
sented themselves. On a level spot in the centre was a com- 
pany of odd-looking personages playing at nine-pins. They 
were dressed in a quaint outlandish fashion : some wore short 
doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in their belts, and 
most of them had enormous breeches, of similar style with that 
of the guide's. Their visages, too, were peculiar; one had a 
large beard, broad face, and small piggish eyes ; the face of an- 
other seemed to consist entirely of nose, and was surmounted 
by a white sugar-loaf hat, set off with a little red cock's tail. 
They all had beards, of various shapes and colors. There 
was one who seemed to be the commander. He was a stout 
old gentleman, with a weather-beaten countenance ; he wore a 
laced doublet, broad belt and hanger, high-crowned hat and 
feather, red stockings, and high-heeled shoes, with roses in 
them. The whole group reminded Rip of the figures in an old 
Flemish painting, in the parlor of Dominie Van Shaick, the vil- 
lage parson, and which had been brought over from Holland at 
the time of the settlement. 

What seemed particularly odd to Rip, was, that though these 
folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they maintained 
the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, and were, withal, 
the most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed. 
Nothing interrupted the stillness of the scene but the noise of 
the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed along the 
mountains like rumbling peals of thunder. 

As Rip and his companion approached them, they suddenly 
desisted from their play, and stared at him with such fixed 
statue-like gaze, and such strange, uncouth, lack-lustre coun- 
tenances, that his heart turned within him, and his knees smote 


together. His companion now emptied the contents of the keg 
into large flagons, and made signs to him to wait upon the com- 
pany. He obeyed with fear and trembling ; they quaffed the 
liquor in profound silence, and then returned to their game. 

By degrees, Rip's awe and apprehension subsided. He even 
ventured, when no eye was fixed upon him, to taste the bev- 
erage, which he found had much of the flavor of excellent 
Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and was soon 
tempted to repeat the draught. One taste provoked another, 
and he reiterated his visits to the flagon so often, that at length 
his senses were overpowered, his eyes swam in his head, his 
head gradually declined, and he fell into a deep sleep. 

On waking, he found himself on the green knoll whence 
he had first seen the old man of the glen. He rubbed his eyes 

it was a bright sunny morning. The birds were hopping and 
twittering among the bushes, and the eagle was wheeling aloft, 
and breasting the pure mountain breeze. "Surely," thought 
Rip, " I have not slept here all night." He recalled the occur- 
rences before he fell asleep. The strange man with the keg of 
liquor the mountain ravine the wild retreat among the rocks 

the wo-begone party at nine-pins the flagon " Oh ! that 
flagon ! that wicked flagon ! " thought Rip " what excuse shall 
I make to Dame Van Winkle? " 

He looked round for his gun, but in place of the clean well- 
oiled fowling-piece, he found an old fire-lock lying b}' him, the 
barrel encrusted with rust, the lock falling off, and the stock 
worm-eaten. He now suspected that the grave roysters of the 
mountain had put a trick upon him, and having dosed him with 
liquor, had robbed him of his gun. Wolf, too, had disappeared, 
but he might have strayed away after a squirrel or partridge. 
He whistled after him, and shouted his name, but all in vain; 
the echoes repeated his whistle and shout, but no dog was to be 

He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's 
gambol, and if he met with any of the party, to demand his 
dog and gun. As he rose to walk, he found himself stiff in the 
joints, and wanting in his usual activity. "These mountain 
beds do not agree with me," thought Rip, "and if this frolic 
should lay me up with a fit of the rheumatism, I shall have a 
blessed time with Dame Van Winkle." With some difficulty 
he got down into the glen ; he found the gully up which he and 
his companion had ascended the preceding evening ; but to his 
astonishment a mountain stream was now foaming down it, 
leaping from rock to rock, and filling the glen with babbling 


murmurs. He, however, made shift to scramble up its sides, 
working his toilsome way through thickets of birch, sassafras, 
and witch-hazel ; and sometimes tripped up or entangled by the 
wild grape vines that twisted their coils or tendrils from tree to 
tree, and spread a kind of network in his path. 

At length he reached to where the ravine had opened through 
the cliffs to the amphitheatre ; but no traces of such 'opening 
remained. The rocks presented a high impenetrable wall, over 
which the torrent came tumbling in a sheet of feathery foam, 
and fell into a broad deep basin, black from the shadows of 
the surrounding forest. Here, then, poor Rip was brought to 
a stand. He again called and whistled after his dog; he was 
only answered by the cawing of a flock of idle crows, sporting 
high in air about a dry tree that overhung a sunny precipice ; 
and who, secure in their elevation, seemed to look clown and 
scoff at the poor man's perplexities. What was to be done? 
The morning was passing away, and Rip felt famished for want 
of his breakfast. He grieved to give up his dog and gun ; he 
dreaded to meet his wife ; but it would not do to starve among 
the mountains. He shook his head, shouldered the rusty fire- 
lock, and with a heart full of trouble and anxiety, turned his 
steps homeward. 

As he approached the village, he met a number of people, 
but none whom he knew, which somewhat surprised him, for he 
had thought himself acquainted with every one in the country 
round. Their dress, too, was of a different fashion from that 
to which he was accustomed. They all stared at him with equal 
marks of surprise, and whenever they cast their eyes upon him, 
invariably stroked their chins. The constant recurrence of this 
gesture, induced Rip, involuntarily, to do the same, when, to 
his astonishment, he found his beard had grown a foot long ! 

He had now entered the skirts of the village. A troop of 
strange children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and point- 
ing at his gray beard. The dogs, too, not one of which he 
recognized for an old acquaintance, barked at him as he passed. 
The very village was altered : it was lar^3r and more populous. 
There were rows of houses which he had never seen before, 
and those which had been his familiar haunts had disappeared. 
Strange names were over the doors strange faces at the win- 
dows every thing was strange. His mind now misgave him ; 
he began to doubt whether both he and the world around him 
were not bewitched. Surely this was his native village, which 
he had left but the day before. There stood the Kaatskill moun- 
tains there ran the silver Hudson at a distance there was 


every hill and dale precisely as it had always been Rip was 
sorely perplexed " That flagon last night," thought he, " has 
addled my poor head sadly ! " 

It was with some difficulty that he found the way to his own 
house, which he approached with silent awe, expecting every 
moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle. He 
found the house gone to decay the roof fallen in, the windows 
shattered, and the doors off the hinges. A half-starved dog, 
that looked like Wolf, was skulking about it. Rip called him 
by name, but the cur snarled, showed his teeth, and passed on. 
This was an unkind cut indeed. " My very dog," sighed poor 
Rip, " has forgotten me ! " 

He entered the house, which, to tell the truth, Dame Van 
Winkle had always kept in neat order. It was empty, forlorn, 
and apparently abandoned. This desolateness overcame all his 
connubial fears he called loudly for his wife and children 
the lonely chambers rang for a moment with his voice, and then 
all again was silence. 

He now hurried forth, and hastened to his old resort, the vil- 
lage inn but it too was gone. A large rickety wooden build- 
ing stood in its place, with great gaping windows, some of them 
broken, and mended with old hats and petticoats, and over the 
door was painted, " The Union Hotel, by Jonathan Doolittle." 
Instead of the great tree that used to shelter the quiet little 
Dutch inn of yore, there now was reared a tall naked pole, with 
something on the top that looked like a red night-cap, and from 
it was fluttering a flag, on which was a singular assemblage of 
stars and stripes all this was strange and incomprehensible. 
He recognized on the sign, however, the ruby face of King 
George, under which he had smoked so many a peaceful pipe, 
but even this was singularly metamorphosed. The red coat 
was changed for one of blue and buff, a sword was held in the 
hand instead of a sceptre, the head was decorated with a cocked 
hat, and underneath was painted in large characters, GENERAL 

There was, as usual, a crowd of folk about the door, but 
none that Rip recollected. The very character of the people 
seemed changed. There was a bus}*, bustling, disputatious 
tone about it, instead of the accustomed phlegm and drowsy 
tranquillity. He looked in vain for the sage Nicholas Vedcler, 
with his broad face, double chin, and fair long pipe, uttering 
clouds of tobacco smoke, instead of idle speeches ; or Van 
Buinmel, the schoolmaster, doling forth the contents of an 
ancient newspaper. In place of these, a lean bilious-looking 


fellow, with his pockets full of handbills, was haranguing vehe- 
mently about rights of citizens election members of Con- 
gress liberty Bunker's hill heroes of seventy-six and 
other words which were a perfect Babylonish jargon to the be- 
wildered Van Winkle. 

The appearance of Rip, with his long, grizzled beard, his 
rusty fowling-piece, his uncouth dress, and an army of women 
and children at his heels, soon attracted the attention of the 
tavern politicians. They crowded round him, eying him from 
head to foot, with great curiosity. The orator bustled up to 
him, and drawing him partly aside, inquired, "on which side 
he voted?" Rip stared in vacant stupidity. Another short 
but busy little fellow pulled him by the arm, and rising on 
tiptoe, inquired in his ear, " whether he was Federal or Demo- 
crat." Rip was equally at a loss to comprehend the question ; 
when a knowing, self-important old gentleman, in a sharp 
cocked hat, made his way through the crowd, putting them 
to the right and left with his elbows as he passed, and plant- 
ing himself before Van Winkle, with one arm a-kimbo, the 
other resting on his cane, his keen eyes and sharp hat penetrat- 
ing, as it were, into his very soul, demanded in an austere tone, 
" what brought him to the election with a gun on his shoulder, 
and a mob at his heels, and whether he meant to breed a riot in 
the village ? ' ' 

" Alas ! gentlemen," cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, " I am 
a poor, quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal subject of 
the King, God bless him ! ' ' 

Here a general shout burst from the bystanders " a tory ! 
a tory ! a spy ! a refugee ! hustle him ! away with him ! " 

It was with great difficulty that the self-important man in 
the cocked hat restored order ; and having assumed a tenfold 
austerity of brow, demanded again of the unknown culprit, 
what he came there for, and whom he was seeking. The poor 
man humbly assured him that he meant no harm, but merely 
came there in search of some of his neighbors, who used to keep 
about the tavern. 

" Well who are they ? name them. ' ' 

Rip bethought himself a moment, and inquired, ''Where's 
Nicholas Vedder? " 

There was a silence for a little while, when an old man re- 
plied, in a thin, piping voice, " Nicholas Vedder? wJhy, he is 
dead and gone these eighteen years ! There was a wooden 
tomb-stone in the church-yard that used to tell all about him, 
but that's rotten and gone too." 


" Where's Brom Butcher? " 

" Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war ; 
some say he was killed at the storming of Stony-Point others 
say he was drowned in the squall, at the foot of Antony's 
Nose. I don't know he never came back again." 

"Where's Van Bummel, the schoolmaster?" 

" He went off to the wars, too ; was a great militia general, 
and is now in Congress." 

Rip's heart died away, at hearing of these sad changes in his 
home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in the world. 
Every answer puzzled him, too, by treating of such enormous 
lapses of time, and of matters which he could not understand : 
war Congress Stony-Point ! he had no courage to ask 
after any more friends, but cried out in despair, " Does nobody 
here know Rip Van Winkle ? ' ' 

"Oh, Rip Van Winkle ! " exclaimed two or three. "Oh to 
be sure ! that's Rip Van Winkle yonder, leaning against the 

Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself as he 
went up the mountain ; apparently as lazy and certainly as 
ragged. The poor fellow was now completely confounded. 
He doubted his own identity, and whether he was himself or 
another man. In the midst of his bewilderment, the man in 
the cocked hat demanded who he was, and what was his name ? 

"God knows," exclaimed he at his wit's end; "I'm not 
myself I'm somebody else that's me yonder no that's 
somebody else, got into my shoes I was myself last night, 
but I fell asleep on the mountain, and they've changed my gun, 
and every thing's changed, and I'm changed, and I can't tell 
what's my name, or who I am ! " 

The by-standers began now to look at each other, nod, wink 
significantly, and tap their fingers against their foreheads. 
There was a whisper, also, about securing the gun, and keep- 
ing the old fellow from doing mischief; at the very suggestion 
of which, the self-important man with the cocked hat retired 
with some precipitation. At this critical moment a fresh 
comely woman pressed through the throng to get a peep at the 
gray-bearded man. She had a chubby child in her arms, 
which, frightened at his looks, began to cry. "Hush, Rip," 
cried she, " hush, you little fool ; the old man won't hurt you." 
The name of the child, the air of the mother, the tone of her 
voice, all awakened a train of recollections in his mind. 

" What is your name, my good woman? " asked he. 

"Judith Gardenier." 


" And your father's name? " 

" Ah, poor man, Rip Van Winkle was his name ; but it's twenty 
years since he went away from home with his gun, and never 
has been heard of since his dog came home without him ; but 
whether he shot himself, or was carried away by the Indians, 
nobody can tell. I was then but a little girl." 

Rip had but one question more to ask ; but he put it with a 
faltering voice : 

" Where's your mother? " 

Oh, she too had died but a short time since : she broke a 
blood-vessel in a fit of passion at a New-England pedler. 

There was a drop of comfort, at least, in this intelligence. 
The honest man could contain himself no longer. He caught 
his daughter and her child in his arms. " I am your father ! " 
cried he " Young Rip Van Winkle once old Rip Van 
Winkle now ! Does nobody know poor Rip Van Winkle ! " 

All stood amazed, until an old woman, tottering out from 
among the crowd, put her hand to her brow, and peering under 
it in his face for a moment, exclaimed, u Sure enough! it is 
Rip Van Winkle it is himself. Welcome home again, old 
neighbor Why, where have you been these twenty long 
years ? ' ' 

Rip's story was soon told, for the whole twenty years had 
been to him but as one night. The neighbors stared when 
they heard it ; some were seen to wink at each other, and put 
their tongues in their cheeks ; and the self-important man in 
the cocked hat, who, when the alarm was over, had returned to 
the field, screwed down the corners of his mouth, and shook 
his head upon which there was a general shaking of the head 
throughout the assemblage. 

It was determined, however, to take the opinion of old Peter 
Vanderdonk, who was seen slowly advancing up the road. He 
was a descendant of the historian of that name, who wrote one 
of the earliest accounts of the province. Peter was the most 
ancient inhabitant of the village, and well versed in all the 
wonderful events and traditions of the neighborhood. He 
recollected Rip at once, and corroborated his story in the most 
satisfactory manner. He assured the company that it was a 
fact, handed down from his ancestor the historian, that the 
Kaatskill mountains had always been haunted by strange be- 
ings. That it was affirmed that the great Hendrick Hudson, 
the first discoverer of the river and country, kept a kind of 
vigil there every twenty years, with his crew of the Half-moon, 
being permitted in this way to revisit the scenes of his enter' 


prise, and keep a guardian eye upon the river and the great 
city called by his name. That his father had once seen them 
in their old Dutch dresses playing at nine-pins in a hollow of 
the mountain ; and that he himself had heard, one summer 
afternoon, the sound of their balls, like distant peals of 

To make a long story short, the company broke up, and 
returned to the more important concerns of the election. Rip's 
daughter took him home to live with her ; she had a snug, well- 
furnished house, and a stout cheery farmer for a husband, 
whom Rip recollected for one of the urchins that used to climb 
upon his back. As to Rip's son and heir, who was the ditto of 
himself, seen leaning against the tree, he was employed to 
work on the farm, but evinced an hereditary disposition to at- 
tend to any thing else but his business. 

Rip now resumed his old walks and habits , he soon found 
many of his former cronies, though all rather the worse for the 
wear and tear of time; and preferred making friends among 
the rising generation, with whom he soon grew into great favor. 

Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that 
happy age when a man can be idle with impunity, he toolf 
his place once more on the bench, at the inn door, and was 
reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village, and a chron- 
icle of the old times "before the war." It was some time 
before he could get into the regular track of gossip, or could 
be made to comprehend the strange events that had taken place 
during his torpor. How that there had been a revolutionary 
war that the country had thrown off the yoke of old England 
and that, instead of being a subject of his majesty George 
the Third, he was now a free citizen of the United States. Rip, 
in fact, was no politician ; the changes of states and empires 
made but little impression on him ; but there was one species 
of despotism under which he had long groaned, and that was 
petticoat government. Happily, that was at an end ; he had 
got his neck out of the yoke of matrimony, and could go in and 
out whenever he pleased, without dreading the tyranny of Dame 
Van Winkle. Whenever her name was mentioned, however, he 
shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and cast up his eyes; 
which might pass either for an expression of resignation to his 
fate, or joy at his deliverance. 

He used to tell his story to every stranger that arrived at Mr. 
Doolittle's hotel. He was observed, at first, to vary on some 
points every time he told it, which was doubtless owing to his 
having so recently awaked. It at last settled down precisely 


to the tale I have related, and not a man, woman, or child in 
the neighborhood, but knew it by heart. Some always pre- 
tended to doubt the reality of it, and insisted that Rip had been 
out of his head, and that this was one point on which he always 
remained flighty. The old Dutch inhabitants, however, almost 
universally gave it full credit. Even to this day, they never 
hear a thunder- storm of a summer afternoon about the Kaats- 
kill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their 
game of nine-pins : and it is a common wish of all henpecked 
husbands in the neighborhood, when life hangs heavy on their 
hands, that they might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van 
Winkle's flagon. 

NOTE. The foregoing tale, one would suspect, had been suggested to Mr. Knicker- 
bocker by a little German superstition about the Emperor Frederick der Rothbart and 
the Kypphauser mountain; the subjoined note, however, which he had appended to the 
tale, shows that it is an absolute fact, narrated with his usual fidelity. 

" The story of Rip Van Winkle may seem incredible to many, but nevertheless I 
give it my full belief, for I know the vicinity of our old Dutch settlements to have been 
very subject to marvellous events and appearances. Indeed, I have heard many stranger 
stories than this, in the villages along the Hudson, all of which were too well authenti- 
cated to admit of a doubt. I have even talked with Rip Van Winkle myself, who, when 
last I saw him, was a very venerable old man, and so perfectly rational and consistent on 
every other point, that I think no conscientious person could refuse to take this into the 
bargain; nay, I have seen a certificate on the subject taken before a country justice, and 
signed with a cross, in the justice's own handwriting. The story, therefore, is beyond 
the possibility of doubt. 1 

D. K." 


" Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation, rousing herself like a strong 
man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; methinks I see her as an eagle, mew- 
ing her mighty youth, and kindling her endazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam." 

IT is with feelings of deep regret that I observe the literary 
animosity daily growing up between England and America. 
Great curiosity has been awakened of late with respect to the 
United States, and the London press has teemed with volumes 
of travels through the Republic ; but they seem intended to 
diffuse error rather than knowledge ; and so successful have 
they been, that, notwithstanding the constant intercourse be- 
tween the nations, there is no people concerning whom the 
great mass of the British public have less pure information, or 
entertain more numerous prejudices. 

i Appendix, Note 1. 


English travellers are the best and the worst in the world. 
Where no motives of pride or interest intervene, none can equal 
them for profound and philosophical views of society, or faith- 
ful and graphical descriptions of external objects ; but when 
either the interest or reputation of their own country comes in 
collision with that of another, they go to the opposite extreme, 
and forget their usual probity and candor, in the indulgence of 
splenetic remark, and an illiberal spirit of ridicule. 

Hence, their travels are more honest and accurate, the more 
remote the country described. I would place implicit confi- 
dence in an Englishman's description of the regions beyond the 
cataracts of the Nile ; of unknown islands in the Yellow Sea ; 
of the interior of India ; or of any other tract which other trav- 
ellers might be apt to picture out with the illusions of their 
fancies. But I would cautiously receive his account of his 
immediate neighbors, and of those nations with which he is 
in habits of most frequent intercourse. However I might be 
disposed to trust his probity, I dare not trust his prejudices. 

It has also been the peculiar lot of our country to be visited 
by the worst kind of English travellers. While men of philo- 
sophical spirit and cultivated minds have been sent from Eng- 
land to ransack the poles, to penetrate the deserts, and to study 
the manners and customs of barbarous nations, with which she 
can have no permanent intercourse of profit or pleasure ; it has 
been left to the broken-down tradesman, the scheming adven- 
turer, the wandering mechanic, the Manchester and Birming- 
ham agent, to be her oracles respecting America. From such 
sources she is content to receive her information respecting a 
country in a singular state of moral and physical development ; 
a country in which one of the greatest political experiments in 
the history of the world is now performing, and which presents 
the most profound and momentous studies to the statesman 
and the philosopher. 

That such men should give prejudicial accounts of America is 
1 not a matter of surprise. The themes it offers for contempla- 
tion are too vast and elevated for their capacities. The national 
character is yet in a state of fermentation : it may have its froth- 
iness and sediment, but its ingredients are sound and whole- 
some : it has already given proofs of powerful and generous 
qualities ; and the whole promises to settle clown into something 
substantially excellent. But the causes which are operating to 
strengthen and ennoble it, and its daily indications of admirable 
properties, are all lost upon these purblind observers ; who are 
only affected by the little asperities incident to its present sit- 


nation. They are capable of judging only of the surface of 
things ; of those matters which come in contact with their pri- 
vate interests and personal gratifications. They miss some of 
the snug conveniences and petty comforts which belong to an 
old, highly-finished, and over-populous state of society ; where 
the ranks of useful labor are crowded, and many earn a painful 
and servile subsistence, by studying the very caprices of appe- 
tite and self-indulgence. These minor comforts, however, are 
all-important in the estimation of narrow minds ; which either 
do not perceive, or will not acknowledge, that they are more 
than counterbalanced among us, by great and generally diffused 

They ma}^, perhaps, have been disappointed .in some unrea- 
sonable expectation of sudden gain. They may have pictured 
America to themselves an El Dorado, where gold and silver 
abounded, and the natives were lacking in sagacity ; and where 
they were to become strangely and suddenly rich, in some un- 
foreseen but easy manner. The same weakness of mind that 
indulges absurd expectations, produces petulance in disappoint- 
ment. Such persons become embittered against the country on 
finding that there, as everywhere else, a man must sow before 
he can reap ; must win wealth by industry and talent ; and must 
contend with the common difficulties of nature, and the shrewd- 
ness of an intelligent and enterprising people. 

Perhaps, through mistaken or ill-directed hospitality, or from 
the prompt disposition to cheer and countenance the stranger, 
prevalent among my countrymen, they may have been treated 
with unwonted respect in America ; and, having been accus- 
tomed all their lives to consider themselves below the surface 
of good society, and brought up in a servile feeling of inferior- 
ity, they become arrogant on the common boon of civility ; they 
attribute to the lowliness of others their own elevation ; and 
underrate a society where there are no artificial distinctions, 
and where by any chance such individuals as themselves can 
rise to consequence. 

One would suppose, however, that information coming from 
such sources, on a subject where the truth is so desirable, would 
be received with caution by the censors of the press ; that the 
motives of these men, their veracity, their opportunities of in- 
quiry and observation, and their capacities for judging correctly, 
would be rigorously scrutinized, before their evidence was ad- 
mitted, in such sweeping extent against a kindred nation. The 
very reverse, however, is the case, and it furnishes a striking 
instance of human inconsistency. Nothing can surpass the 


vigilance with which English critics will examine the credibility 
of the traveller who publishes an account of some distant, and 
comparatively unimportant, country. How warily will they 
compare the measurements of a pyramid, or the description of 
a ruin ; and how sternly will they censure any inaccuracy in 
these contributions of merely curious knowledge ; while they 
will receive, with eagerness and unhesitating faith, the gross 
misrepresentations of coarse and obscure writers, concerning a 
country with which their own is placed in the most important 
and delicate relations. Nay, they will even make these apocry- 
phal volumes text-books, on which to enlarge, with a zeal and 
an ability worthy of a more generous cause. 

I shall not, however, dwell on this irksome and hackneyed 
topic ; nor should I have adverted to it, but for the undue in- 
terest apparently taken in it by my countrymen, and certain 
injurious effects which I apprehend it might produce upon the 
national feeling. We attach too much consequence to these 
attacks. They cannot do us any essential injury. The tissue 
of misrepresentations attempted to be woven round us, are like 
cobwebs woven round the limbs of an infant giant. Our coun- 
try continually outgrows them. One falsehood after another 
falls off of itself. We have but to live on, and every day we 
live a whole volume of refutation. All the writers of England 
united, if we could for a moment suppose their great minds 
stooping to so unworthy a combination, could not conceal our 
rapidly growing importance and matchless prosperity. They 
could not conceal that these are owing, not merely to physical 
and local, but also to moral causes ; to the political liberty, 
the general diffusion of knowledge, the prevalence of sound, 
moral, and religious principles, which give force and sustained 
energy to the character of a people ; and which, in fact, have 
been the acknowledged and wonderful supporters of their own 
national power and glory. 

But why are we so exquisitely alive to the aspersions of 
England ? Why do we suffer ourselves to be so affected by the 
contumely she has endeavored to cast upon us? It is not in 
the opinion of England alone that honor lives, and reputation 
has its being. The world at large is the arbiter of a nation's 
fame : with its thousand eyes it witnesses a nation's deeds, and 
from their collective testimony is national glory or national 
disgrace established. 

For ourselves, therefore, it is comparatively of but little 
importance whether England does us justice or not ; it is, per- 
haps, of far more importance to herself. She is instilling anger 


and resentment into the bosom of a youthful nation, to grow 
with its growth, and strengthen with its strength. If in Amer- 
ica, as some of her writers are laboring to convince her, she is 
hereafter to find an invidious rival and a gigantic foe, she may 
thank those very writers for having provoked rivalship, and irri- 
tated hostility. Every one knows the all-pervading influence 
of literature at the present day, and how much the opinions and 
passions of mankind are under its control. The mere contests 
of the sword are temporary ; their wounds are but in the flesh, 
and it is the pride of the generous to forgive and forget them ; 
but the slanders of the pen pierce to the heart ; they rankle 
longest iii the noblest spirits ; they dwell ever present in the 
mind, and render it morbidly sensitive to the most trifling collis- 
ion. It is but seldom that any one overt act produces hos- 
tilities between two nations ; there exists, most commonly, a 
previous jealousy and ill-will, a predisposition to take offence. 
Trace these to their cause, and how often will they be found to 
originate in the mischievous effusions of mercenary writers ; 
who, secure in their closets, and for ignominious bread, concoct 
and circulate the venom that is to inflame the generous and the 

I am not laying too much stress upon this point ; for it 
applies most emphatically to our particular case. Over no 
nation does the press hold a more absolute control than over 
the people of America ; for the universal education of the 
poorest classes makes every individual a reader. There is 
nothing published in England on the subject of our country, 
that does not circulate through ever} 7 part of it. There is not 
a calumny dropt from an English pen, nor an unworthy sarcasm 
uttered by an English statesman, that does not go to blight 
good-will, and add to the mass of latent resentment. Possess- 
ing then, as England does, the fountain-head whence the litera- 
ture of the language flows, how completely is it in her power, 
and how truly is it her duty, to make it the medium of 
amiable and magnanimous feeling a stream where the two 
nations might meet together, and drink in peace and kindness. 
Should she, however, persist in turning it to waters of bitterness, 
the time may come when she may repent her folly. The pres- 
ent friendship of America may be of but little moment to her ; 
but the future destinies of that country do not admit of a doubt : 
over those of England, there lower some shadows of uncer- 
tainty. Should, then, a day of gloom arrive should these 
reverses overtake her from which the proudest empires have 
not been exempt she may look back with regret at her inf atu~ 


ation, in repulsing from her side a nation she might have 
grappled to her bosom, and thus destroying her only chance 
for real friendship beyond the boundaries of her own dominions. 

There is a general impression in England, that the people of 
the United States are inimical to the parent country. It is one 
of the errors which have been diligently propagated by designing 
writers. There is, doubtless, considerable political hostility, and 
a general soreness at the illiberality of the English press ; but, 
generally speaking, the prepossessions of the people are 
strongly in favor of England. Indeed, at one time they 
amounted, in many parts of the Union, to an absurd degree of 
bigotry. The bare name of Englishman was a passport to the 
confidence and hospitality of every family, and too often gave 
a transient currency to the worthless and the ungrateful. 
Throughout the wuntry, there was something of enthusiasm 
connected with the idea of England. We looked to it with a 
hallowed feeling of tenderness and veneration, as the land of 
our forefathers the august repository of the monuments and 
antiquities of our race the birth-place and mausoleum of the 
sages and heroes of our paternal history. After our own coun- 
try, there was none in whose glory we more delighted none 
whose good opinion we were more anxious to possess none 
toward which our hearts yearned with such throbbings of warm 
consanguinity. Even during the late war, whenever there was 
the least opportunity for kind feelings to spring forth, it was 
the delight" of the generous spirits of our country to show, that 
in the midst of hostilities, they still kept alive the sparks of 
future friendship. 

Is all this to be at an end ? Is this golden band of kindred 
sympathies, so rare between nations, to be broken forever? 
Perhaps it is for the best it may dispel an illusion which 
might have kept us in mental vassalage ; which might have in- 
terfered occasionally with our true interests, and prevented 
the growth of proper national pride. But it is hard to give up 
the kindred tie ! and there are feelings dearer than interest 
closer to the heart than pride that will still make us cast back 
a look of regret as we wander farther and farther from the 
paternal roof, and lament the waywardness of the parent that 
would repel the affections of the child. 

Short-sighted and injudicious, however, as the conduct of 
England may be in this system of aspersion, recrimination on 
our part would be equally ill-judged. I speak not of a prompt 
and spirited vindication of our country, nor the keenest castiga- 
tion of her slanderers but I allude to a disposition to retaliate 


in kind, to retort sarcasm and inspire prejudice, which seems 
to be spreading widely among our writers. Let us guard par- 
ticularly against such a temper ; for it would double the evil, 
instead of redressing the wrong. Nothing is so easy and in- 
viting as the retort of abuse and sarcasm ; but it is a paltry 
and unprofitable contest. It is the alternative of a morbid 
mind, fretted into petulance, rather than warmed into indigna- 
tion. If England is willing to permit the mean jealousies of 
trade, or the rancorous animosities of politics, to deprave the 
integrity of her press, and poison the fountain of public opin- 
ion, let us beware of her example. She may deem it her inter- 
est to diffuse error, and engender antipathy, for the purpose of 
checking emigration ; we have no purpose of the kind to serve. 
Neither have we any spirit of national jealousy to gratify ; for 
as yet, in all our rivalships with England, we are the rising and 
the gaining party. There can be no end to answer, therefore, 
but the gratification of resentment a mere spirit of retalia- 
tion ; and even that is impotent. Our retorts are never repub- 
lished in England ; they fall short, therefore, of their aim ; but 
they foster a querulous and peevish temper among our writers ; 
they sour the sweet flow of our early literature, and sow thorns 
and brambles among its blossoms. What is still worse, they 
circulate through our own country, and, as far as they have 
effect, excite virulent national prejudices. This last is the evil 
most especially to be deprecated. Governed, as we are, entirely 
by public opinion, the utmost care should be taken to preserve 
the purity of the public mind. Knowledge is power, and truth 
is knowledge ; whoever, therefore, knowingly propagates a 
prejudice, wilfully saps the foundation of his country's strength. 

The members of a republic, above all other men, should be 
candid and dispassionate. They are, individually, portions of 
the sovereign mind and sovereign will, and should be enabled 
to come to all questions of national concern with calm and un- 
biassed judgments. From the peculiar nature of our relations 
with England, we must have more frequent questions of a difficult 
and delicate character with her, than with any other nation; ques- 
tions that affect the most acute and excitable feelings : and as, 
in the adjusting of these, our national measures must ultimately 
be determined by popular sentiment, we cannot be too anxiously 
attentive to purify it from all latent passion or prepossession. 

Opening too, as we do, an asylum for strangers from every 
portion of the earth, we should receive all with impartiality. 
It should be our pride to exhibit an example of one nation, at 
least, destitute of national antipathies, and exercising, not 


merely the overt acts of hospitality, but those more rare and 
noble courtesies which spring from liberality of opinion. 

What have we to do with national prejudices ? They are the 
inveterate diseases of old countries, contracted in rude and 
ignorant ages, when nations knew but little of each other, and 
looked beyond their own boundaries with distrust and hostility. 
We, on the contrary, have sprung into national existence in an 
enlightened and philosophic age, when the different parts of the 
habitable world, and the various branches of the human family, 
have been indefatigably studied and made known to each other ; 
and we forego the advantages of our birth, if we do not shake 
off the national prejudices, as we would the local superstitions, 
of the old world. 

But above all, let us not be influenced by any angry feelings, 
so far as to shut our eyes to the perception of what is really 
excellent and amiable in the English character. We are a 
young people, necessarily an imitative one, and must take our 
examples and models, in a great degree, from the existing na- 
tions of Europe. There is no country more worthy of our 
study than England. The spirit of her constitution is most 
analogous to ours. The manners of her people their intellec- 
tual activity their freedom of opinion their habits of think- 
ing on those subjects which concern the dearest interests and 
most sacred charities of private life, are all congenial to the 
American character ; and, in fact, are all intrinsically excel- 
lent : for it is in the moral feeling of the people that the deep 
foundations of British prosperity are laid ; and however the 
superstructure may be time-worn, or overrun by abuses, there 
must be something solid in the basis, admirable in the materials, 
and stable in the structure of an edifice that so long has tow- 
ered unshaken amidst the tempests of the world. 

Let it be the pride of our writers, therefore, discarding all 
feelings of irritation, and disdaining to retaliate the illiberal- 
ity of British authors, to speak of the English nation without 
prejudice, and with determined candor. While they rebuke the 
indiscriminating bigotry with which some of our countrymen 
admire and imitate every thing English, merely because it is 
English, let them frankly point out what is really worthy of 
approbation. We may thus place England before us as a per- 
petual volume of reference, wherein are recorded sound deduc- 
tions from ages of experience ; and while we avoid the errors 
and absurdities which may have crept into the page, we may 
draw thence golden maxims of practical wisdom, wherewith to 
strengthen and to embellish our national character. 



Oh ! friendly to the best pursuits of man, 
Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace, 
Domestic life in rural pleasures past! COWPER. 

THE stranger who would form a correct opinion of the Eng- 
lish character, must not confine his observations to the metrop- 
olis. He must go forth into the country ; he must sojourn in 
villages and hamlets ; he must visit castles, villas, farm-houses, 
cottages ; he must wander through parks and gardens ; along 
hedges and green lanes ; he must loiter about country churches ; 
attend wakes and fairs, and other rural festivals ; and cope 
with the people in all their conditions, and all their habits and 

In some countries the large cities absorb the wealth and 
fashion of the nation ; they are the only fixed abodes of elegant 
and intelligent society, and the country is inhabited almost 
entirely by boorish peasantry. In England, on the contrary, 
the metropolis is a mere gathering place, or general rendezvous, 
of the polite classes, where they devote a small portion of the 
year to a hurry of gayety and dissipation, and having indulged 
this kind of carnival, return again to the apparently more con- 
genial habits of rural life. The various orders of society are 
therefore diffused over the whole surface of the kingdom, and 
the most retired neighborhoods afford specimens of the different 

The English, in fact, are strongly gifted with the rural feel- 
ing. They possess a quick sensibility to the beauties of na- 
ture, and a keen relish for the pleasures and employments of 
the country. This passion seems inherent in them. Even the 
inhabitants of cities, born and brought up among brick walls 
and bustling streets, enter with facility into rural habits, and 
evince a tact for rural occupation. The merchant has his snug 
retreat in the vicinity of the metropolis, where he often dis- 
plays as much pride and zeal in the cultivation of his flower- 
garden, and the maturing of his fruits, as he does in the conduct 
of his business, and the success of a commercial enterprise. 
Even those less fortunate individuals, who are doomed to pass 
their lives in the midst of din and traffic, contrive to have some- 
thing that shall remind them of the green aspect of nature. In 
the most dark and dingy quarters of the city, the drawing- 
room window resembles frequently a bank of flowers; every 


spot capable of vegetation has its grass-plot and flower-bed ; 
and every square its mimic park, laid out with picturesque taste, 
and gleaming with refreshing verdure. 

Those who see the Englishman only in town, are apt to form 
an unfavorable opinion of his social character. He is either 
absorbed in business, or distracted by the thousand engage- 
ments that dissipate time, thought, and feeling, in this huge 
metropolis. He has, therefore, too commonly, a look of hurry 
and abstraction. Wherever he happens to be, he is on the 
point of going somewhere else ; at the moment he is talking on 
one subject, his mind is wandering to another ; and while pay- 
ing a friendly visit, he is calculating how he shall economize 
time so as to pay the other visits allotted in the morning. An 
immense metropolis, like London, is calculated to make men 
selfish and uninteresting. In their casual and transient meet- 
ings, they can but deal briefly in commonplaces. They present 
but the cold superficies of character its rich and genial qual- 
ities have no time to be warmed into a flow. 

It is in the country that the Englishman gives scope to his 
natural feelings. He breaks loose gladly from the cold formal- 
ities and negative civilities of town, throws off his habits of shy 
reserve, and becomes joyous and free-hearted. He manages to 
collect round him all the conveniences and elegancies of polite 
life, and to banish its restraints. His country-seat abounds 
with every requisite, either for studious retirement, tasteful 
gratification, or rural exercise. Books, paintings, music, horses, 
dogs, and sporting implements of all kinds, are at hand. He 
puts no constraint, either upon his guests or himself, but, in the 
true spirit of hospitality, provides the means of enjoyment, and 
leaves every one to partake according to his inclination. 

The taste of the English in the cultivation of laud, and in 
what is called landscape gardening, is unrivalled. They have 
studied Nature intently, and discover an exquisite sense of 
her beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. Those 
charms which, in other countries, she lavishes in wild soli- 
tudes, are here assembled round the haunts of domestic life. 
They seem to have caught her coy and furtive graces, and 
spread them, like witchery, about their rural abodes. 

Nothing can be more imposing than the magnificence of Eng- 
lish park scenery. Vast lawns that extend like sheets of vivid 
green, with here and there clumps of gigantic trees, heaping up 
rich piles of foliage. The solemn pomp of groves and wood- 
land glades, with the deer trooping in silent herds across them ; 
the hare, bounding away to the covert ; or the pheasant, sud' 


denly bursting upon the wing. The brook, taught to wind in 
natural meanderings, or expand into a glass}' lake the seques- 
tered pool, reflecting the quivering trees, with the yellow leaf 
sleeping on its bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about 
its limpid waters : while some rustic temple, or sylvan statue, 
grown green and dank with age, gives an air of classic sanctity 
to the seclusion. 

These are but a few of the features of park scenery ; but 
what most delights me, is the creative talent with which the 
English decorate the unostentatious abodes of middle life. 
The rudest habitation, the most unpromising and scanty por- 
tion of land, in the hands of an Englishman of taste, becomes 
a little paradise. With a nicely discriminating eye, he seizes 
at once upon its capabilities, and pictures in his mind the future 
landscape. The sterile spot grows into loveliness under his 
hand ; and yet the operations of art which produce the effect 
are scarcely to be perceived. The cherishing and training of 
some trees ; the cautious pruning of others ; the nice distribution 
of flowers and plants of tender and graceful foliage ; the intro- 
duction of a green slope of velvet turf ; the partial opening to a 
peep of blue distance, or silver gleam of water all these are 
managed with a delicate tact, a pervading yet quiet assiduity, 
like the magic touchings with which a painter finishes up a 
favorite picture. 

The residence of people of fortune and refinement in the 
country, has diffused a degree of taste and elegance in rural 
economy, that descends to the lowest class. The very laborer, 
with his thatched cottage and narrow slip of ground, attends to 
their embellishment. The trim hedge, the grass-plot before the 
door, the little flower-bed bordered with snug box, the woodbine 
trained up against the wall, and hanging its blossoms about the 
lattice ; the pot of flowers in the window ; the holly, providently 
planted about the house, to cheat winter of its dreariness, and 
to throw in a semblance of green summer to cheer the fireside: 
all these bespeak the influence of taste, flowing down from 
high sources, and pervading the lowest levels of the public 
mind. If ever Love, as poets sing, delights to visit a cottage, 
it must be the cottage of an English peasant. 

The fondness for rural life among the higher classes of the 
English, has had a great and salutary effect upon the national 
character. I do not know a finer race of men than the English 
gentlemen. Instead of ,the softness and effeminacy which 
characterize the men of rank in most countries, they exhibit 
a union of elegance and strength, a robustness of frame and 


freshness of complexion, which I am inclined to attribute to 
their living so much in the open air, and pursuing so eagerly 
the invigorating recreations of the country. These hardy exer- 
cises produce also a healthful tone of mind and spirits, and a 
manliness and simplicity of manners, which even the follies and 
dissipations of the town cannot easily pervert, and can never 
entirely destroy. In the country, too, the different orders of 
society seem to approach more freely, to be more disposed to 
blend and operate favorably upon each other. The distinctions 
between them do not appear to be so marked and impassable, 
as in the cities. The manner in which property has been dis- 
tributed into small estates and farms, has established a regular 
gradation from the nobleman, through the classes of gentry, 
small landed proprietors, and substantial farmers, down to the 
laboring peasantry ; and while it has thus banded the extremes 
of society together, has infused into each intermediate rank a 
spirit of independence. This, it must be confessed, is not so 
universally the case at present as it was formerly ; the larger 
estates having, in late years of distress, absorbed the smaller, 
and, in some parts of the country, almost annihilated the sturdy 
race of small farmers. These, however, I believe, are but cas- 
ual breaks in the general system I have mentioned. 

In rural occupation, there is nothing mean and debasing. It 
leads a man forth among scenes of natural grandeur and beau- 
ty ; it leaves him to the workings of his own mind, operated 
upon by the purest and most elevating of external influences. 
Such a man may be simple and rough, but he cannot be vulgar. 
The man of refinement, therefore, finds nothing revolting in 
an intercourse with the lower orders in rural life, as he does 
when he casually mingles with the lower orders of cities. He 
lays aside his distance and reserve, and is glad to waive the 
distinctions of rank, and to enter into the honest, heart-felt 
enjoyments of common life. Indeed, the very amusements of 
the country bring men more and more together ; and the sound 
of hound and horn blend all feelings into harmon} 7 . I believe 
this is one great reason why the nobility and gentry are more 
popular among the inferior orders in England, than they are in 
any other country ; and why the latter have endured so many 
excessive pressures and extremities, without repining more 
generally at the unequal distribution of fortune and privilege. 

To this mingling of cultivated and rustic society, may also 
be attributed the rural feeling that runs through British litera- 
ture ; the frequent use of illustrations from rural life ; those 
incomparable descriptions of Nature, that abound in the British 


poets that have continued down from "the Flower and the 
Leaf" of Chaucer, and have brought into our closets all the 
freshness and fragrance of the dewy landscape. The pastoral 
writers of other countries appear as if they had paid Nature 
an occasional visit, and become acquainted with her general 
charms ; but the British poets have lived and revelled with her 
they have wooed her in her most secret haunts they have 
watched her minutest caprices. A spray could not tremble in 
the breeze a leaf could not rustle to the ground a diamond 
drop could not patter in the stream a fragrance could not ex- 
hale from the humble violet, nor a daisy unfold its crimson tints 
to the morning, but it has been noticed by these impassioned 
and delicate observers, and wrought up into some beautiful 

The effect of this devotion of elegant minds to rural occupa- 
tions, has been wonderful on the face of the country. A great 
part of the island is rather level, and would be monotonous, 
were it not for the charms of culture ; but it is studded and 
gemmed, as it were, with castles and palaces, and embroidered 
with parks and gardens. It does not abound in grand and 
sublime prospects, but rather in little home scenes of rural 
repose and sheltered quiet. Every antique farm-house and 
moss-grown cottage is a picture ; and as the roads are continu- 
ally winding, and the view is shut in b}* groves and hedges, the 
eye is delighted by a continual succession of small landscapes 
of captivating loveliness. 

The great charm, however, of English scenery, is the moral 
feeling that seems to pervade it. It is associated in the mind 
with ideas of order, of quiet, of sober well-established princi- 
ples, of hoary usage and reverend custom. Every thing seems 
to be the growth of ages of regular and peaceful existence. 
The old church, of remote architecture, with its low massive 
portal ; its Gothic tower ; its windows, rich with tracery and 
painted glass, in scrupulous preservation its stately monu- 
ments of warriors and worthies of the olden time, ancestors of 
the present lords of the soil its tombstones, recording suc- 
cessive generations of sturdy yeomanry, whose progeny still 
plough the same fields, and kneel at the same altar the par- 
sonage, a quaint irregular pile, partly antiquated, but repaired 
and altered in the tastes of various ages and occupants the 
stile and footpath leading from the church-yard, across pleasant 
fields, and along shady hedge-rows, according to an immemora- 
ble right of way the neighboring village, with its venerable 
its public green, sheltered by trees, under which the 


forefathers of the present race have sported the antique 
family mansion, standing apart in some little rural domain, but 
looking down with a protecting air on the surrounding scene 
all these common features of English landscape evince a calm 
and settled security, an hereditary transmission of home-bred 
virtues and local attachments, that speak deeply and touchingly 
for the moral character of the nation. 

It is a pleasing sight, of a Sunday morning, when the bell is 
sending its sober melody across the quiet fields, to behold the 
peasantry in their best finery, with ruddy faces, and modest 
cheerfulness, thronging tranquilly along the green lanes to 
church ; but it is still more pleasing to see them in the even- 
ings, gathering about their cottage doors, and appearing to 
exult in the humble comforts and embellishments which their 
own hands have spread around them. 

It is this sweet home feeling, this settled repose of affection 
in the domestic scene, that is, after all, the parent of the 
steadiest virtues and purest enjoyments ; and I cannot close 
these desultory remarks better than by quoting the words of a 
modern English poet, who has depicted it with remarkable 

Through each gradation, from the castled hall, 
The city- dome, the villa crown 'd with shade, 
But chief from modest mansions numberless, 
In town or hamlet, shelt'ring middle life, 
Down to the cottaged vale, and straw-roof 'd shed ; 
This western isle hath long been famed for scenes 
Where bliss domestic finds a dwelling-place; 
Domestic bliss, that, like a harmless dove, 
(Honor and sweet endearment keeping guard) 
Can centre in a little quiet nest 
All that desire would fry for through the earth; 
That can, the world eluding, be itself 
A world enjoy'd ; that wants no witnesses 
But its own sharers, and approving Heaven; 
That, like a flower deep hid in rocky cleft, 
Smiles, though 'tis looking only at the sky. 1 

1 From a poem on the death of the Princess Charlotte, by the Reverend Rann 
Kennedy, A.M. 



I never heard 

Of any true affection, but 'twas nipt 
With care, that, like the caterpillar, eats 
The leaves of the spring's sweetest book, the rose. MIDDLETON. 

IT is a common practice with those who have outlived the 
susceptibility of early feeling, or have been brought up in the 
gay heartlessness of dissipated life, to laugh at all love stories, 
and to treat the tales of romantic passion as mere fictions of 
novelists and poets. My observations on human nature have 
induced me to think otherwise. They have convinced me, that 
however the surface of the character may be chilled and frozen 
by the cares of the world, or cultivated into mere smiles by the 
arts of society, still there are dormant fires lurking in the depths 
of the coldest bosom, which, when once enkindled, become im- 
petuous, and are sometimes desolating in their effects. Indeed, 
I am a true believer in the blind deity, and go to the full extent 
of his doctrines. Shall I confess it? I believe in broken 
hearts, and the possibility of dying of disappointed love ! I do 
not, however, consider it a malady often fatal to my own sex ; 
but I firmly believe that it withers down many a lovely woman 
into an early grave. 

Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His nature 
leads him forth into the struggle and bustle of the world. Love 
is but the embellishment of his early life, or a song piped in 
the intervals of the acts. He seeks for fame, for fortune, for 
space in the world's thought, and dominion over his fellow-men. 
But a woman's whole life is a history of the affections. The 
heart is her world ; it is there her ambition strives for empire 
it is there her avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends 
forth her sympathies on adventure ; she embarks her whole 
soul in the traffic of affection ; and if shipwrecked, her case is 
hopeless for it is a bankruptcy of the heart. 

To a man, the disappointment of love may occasion some 
bitter pangs : it wounds some feelings of tenderness it blasts 
some prospects of felicity ; but he is an active being ; he may 
dissipate his thoughts in the whirl of varied occupation, or may 
plunge into the tide of pleasure ; or, if the scene of disappoint- 
ment be too full of painful associations, he can shift his abode 
at will, and taking, as it were, the wings of the morning, can 
" fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, and be at rest," 


But woman's is comparatively a fixed, a secluded, and medi- 
tative life. She ie more the companion of her own thoughts 
and feelings ; and if they are turned to ministers of sorrow, 
where shall she look for consolation ? Her lot is to be wooed 
and won ; and if unhappy in her love, her heart is like some 
fortress that has been captured, and sacked, and abandoned, 
and left desolate. 

How many bright eyes grow dim how many soft cheeks 
grow pale how many lovely forms fade away into the tomb, 
and none can tell the cause that blighted their loveliness ! As 
the dove will clasp its wings to its side, and cover and conceal 
the arrow that is preying on its vitals so is it the nature of 
woman, to hide from the world the pangs of wounded affection. 
The love of a delicate female is always shy and silent. Even 
when fortunate, she scarcely breathes it to herself ; but when 
otherwise, she buries it in the recesses of her bosom, and there 
lets it cower and brood among the ruins of her peace. With 
her, the desire of the heart has failed the great charm of 
existence is at an end. She neglects all the cheerful exercises 
which gladden the spirits, quicken the pulses, and send the tide 
of life in healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is 
broken the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melan- 
choly dreams " dry sorrow drinks her blood," until her en- 
feebled frame sinks under the slightest external injury. Look 
for her, after a little while, and you find friendship weeping 
over her untimely grave, and wondering that one, who but 
lately glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty, should 
so speedily be brought down to "darkness and the worm." 
You will be told of some wintry chill, some casual indisposi- 
tion, that laid her low but no one knows of the mental malady 
which previously sapped her strength, and made her so easy a 
prey to the spoiler. 

She is like some tender tree, the pride and beauty of the 
grove : graceful in its form, bright in its foliage, but with the 
worm preying at its heart. We find it suddenly withering, 
when it should be most fresh and luxuriant. We see it droop- 
Ing its branches to the earth, and shedding leaf by leaf ; until, 
wasted and perished away, it falls even in the stillness of the 
forest; and as we muse over the beautiful ruin, we strive in 
vain to recollect the blast or thunderbolt that could have smit- 
ten it with decay. 

I have seen many instances of women running to waste and 
self -neglect, and disappearing gradually from the earth, almost 
as if they had been exhaled to heaven ; and have repeatedly 


fancied that I could trace their deaths through the various de- 
clensions of consumption, cold, debility, languor, melancholy, 
until I reached the first symptom of disappointed love. But 
an instance of the kind was lately told to me ; the circum- 
stances are well known in the country where they happened, 
and I shall but give them in the manner in which they were 

Every one must recollect the tragical story of young E , 

the Irish patriot : it was too touching to be soon forgotten. 
During the troubles in Ireland he was tried, condemned, and 
executed, on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep im- 
pression on public sympathy.. He was so young so intelli- 
gent so generous so brave so every thing that we are apt 
to like in a young man. His conduct under trial, too, was so 
lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation with which he re- 
pelled the charge of treason against his country the eloquent 
vindication of his name and his pathetic appeal to posterity, 
in the hopeless hour of condemnation all these entered deeply 
into every generous bosom, and even his enemies lamented the 
stern policy that dictated his execution. 

But there was one heart, whose anguish it would be impossi- 
ble to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes he had 
won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl, the daugh- 
ter of a late celebrated Irish barrister. She loved him with the 
disinterested fervor of a woman's first and early love. When 
every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him ; when blasted 
in fortune, and disgrace and danger darkened around his name, 
she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings. If, 
then, his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes, 
what must have been the agony of her, whose whole soul was 
occupied by his image ? Let those tell who have had the portals 
of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they 
most loved on earth who have sat at its threshold, as one 
shut out in a cold and lonely w r orld, whence all that was most 
lovely and loving had departed. 

But then the horrors of such a grave ! so frightful, so dis- 
honored ! There was nothing for memory to dwell on that 
could soothe the pang of separation none of those tender, 
though melancholy circumstances, which endear the parting scene 
nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears, sent, like 
the dews of heaven, to revive the heart in the parting hour of 

To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had 
incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attach- 


ment, and was an exile from the paternal roof. But could the 
sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a spirit so 
shocked and driven in by horror, she would have experienced 
no want of consolation, for the Irish are a people of quick and 
generous sensibilities. The most delicate and cherishing atten- 
tions were paid her, by families of wealth and distinction. 
She was led into society, and they tried by all kinds of occupa- 
tion and amusement to dissipate her grief, and wean her from 
the tragical story of her loves. But it was all in vain. There 
are some strokes of calamity which scathe and scorch the soul 
which penetrate to the vital seat of happiness and blast it, 
never again to put forth bud or blossom. She never objected 
to frequent the haunts of pleasure, but was as much alone there, 
as in the depths of solitude; walking about in a sad reverie, 
apparently unconscious of the world around her. She carried 
with her an inward woe that mocked at all the blandishments 
of friendship, and " heeded not the song of the charmer, charm 
he never so wisely." 

The person who told me her story had seen her at a mas- 
querade. There can be no exhibition of far-gone wretchedness 
more striking and painful than to meet it in such a scene. To 
find it wandering like a spectre, lonely and joyless, where all 
around is gay to see it dressed out in the trappings of mirth, 
and looking so wan and wo-begone, as if it had tried in vain to 
cheat the poor heart into a momentary forgetfulness of sorrow. 
After strolling through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd 
with an air of utter abstraction, she sat herself down on the 
steps of an orchestra, and looking about for some time with a 
vacant air, that showed her insensibility to the garish scene, 
she began, with the capriciousness of a sickly heart, to warble 
a little plaintive air. She had an exquisite voice ; but on this 
occasion it was so simple, so touching it breathed forth such 
a soul of wretchedness that she drew a crowd, mute and 
silent, around her, and melted every one into tears. 

The story of one so true and tender could not but excite 
great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It 
completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his 
addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead, 
could not but prove affectionate to the living. She declined his 
attentions, for her thoughts were irrevocably engrossed by the 
memory of her former lover. He, however, persisted in his 
suit. He solicited not her tenderness, but her esteem. He 
was assisted by her conviction of his worth, and her sense of 
her own destitute and dependent situation, for she was existing 


on the kkidness of friends. In a word, he at length succeeded 
in gaining her hand, though with the solemn assurance, that 
her heart was unalterably another's. 

He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of 
scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She 
was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to be a 
happy one ; but nothing could cure the silent and devouring 
melancholy that had entered into her very soul. She wasted 
away in a slow, but hopeless decline, and at length sunk into 
the grave, the victim of a broken heart. 

It was on her that Moore, the distinguished Irish poet, com- 
posed the following lines : 

She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps, 

And lovers around her are sighing; 
But coldly she turns from their gaze, and weeps, 

For her heart in his grave is lying. 

She sings the wild songs of her dear native plains, 

Every note which he loved awaking 
Ah! little they think, who delight in her strains, 

How the heart of the minstrel is breaking ! 

He had lived for his love for his country he died, 

They were all that to life had entwined him 
Nor soon shall the tears of his country be dried, 

Nor long will his love stay behind him ! 

Oh ! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest, 

When they promise a glorious morrow ; 
They'll shine o'er her sleep, like a smile from the west, 

From her own loved island of sorrow ! 


"If that severe doom of Synesius be true 'it is a greater offence to steal dead 
men's labors than their clothes,' what shall become of most writers?" BURTON'S 
Anatomy of Melancholy. 

I HAVE often wondered at the extreme fecunditj- of the press, 
and how it comes to pass that so many heads, on which Nature 
seemed to have inflicted the curse of barrenness, should teem with 
voluminous productions. As a man travels on, however, in 
the journey of life, his objects of wonder daily diminish, and 
he is continually finding out some very simple cause for some 


great matter of marvel. Thus have I chanced, in my peregri- 
nations about this great metropolis, to blunder upon a scene 
which unfolded to me some of the mysteries of the book-making 
craft, and at once put an end to my astonishment. 

I was one summer's day loitering through the great saloons 
of the British Museum, with that listlessness with which one is 
apt to saunter about a museum in warm weather ; sometimes loll- 
ing over the glass cases of minerals, sometimes studying the 
hieroglyphics on an Egyptian mummy, and sometimes trying, 
with nearly equal success, to comprehend the allegorical paint- 
ings on the lofty ceilings. Whilst I was gazing about in this 
idle way, my attention was attracted to a distant door, at the 
end of a suite of apartments. It was closed, but every now 
and then it would open, and some strange-favored being, gen- 
erally clothed in black, would steal forth, and glide through 
the rooms, without noticing any of the surrounding objects. 
There was an air of mystery about this that piqued my languid 
curiosity, and I determined to attempt the passage of that 
strait, and to explore the unknown regions beyond. The door 
yielded to my hand, with that facility with which the por- 
tals of enchanted castles yield to the adventurous knight- 
errant. I found myself in a spacious chamber, surrounded with 
great cases of venerable books. Above the cases, and just 
under the cornice, were arranged a great number of black- 
looking portraits of ancient authors. About the room were 
placed long tables, with stands for reading and writing, at 
which sat many pale, studious personages, poring intently 
over dusty volumes, rummaging among mouldy manuscripts, 
and taking copious notes of their contents. A hushed still- 
ness reigned through this mysterious apartment, excepting 
that you might hear the racing of pens over sheets of paper, or, 
occasionally, the deep sigh of one of these sages, as he shifted 
his position to turn over the page of an old folio; doubtless 
arising from that hollowness and flatulency incident to learned 

Now and then one of these personages would write something 
on a small slip of paper, and ring a bell, whereupon a familiar 
would appear, take the paper in profound silence, glide out of 
the room, and return shortly loaded with ponderous tomes, 
upon which the other would fall, tooth and nail, with famished 
voracity. I had no longer a doubt that I had happened upon a 
body of magi, deeply engaged in the study of occult sciences. 
The scene reminded me of an old Arabian tale, of a philoso- 
pher, shut up in an enchanted library, in the bosom of a 



mountain, which opened only once a year ; where he made the 
spirits of the place bring him books of all kinds of dark 
knowledge, so that at the end of the year, whem the 
magic portal once more swung open on its hinges, he issued 
forth so versed in forbidden lore, as to be able to soar 
above the heads of the multitude, and to control the powers of 

My curiosity being now fully aroused, 1 whispered to one of 
the familiars, as he was about to leave the room, and begged 
an interpretation of the strange scene before me. A few words 
were sufficient for the purpose : I found that these mysterious 
personages, whom I had mistaken for magi, were principally 
authors, and in the very act of manufacturing books. I was, 
in fact, in the reading-room of the great British Library, 
an immense collection of volumes of all ages and languages, 
many of which are now forgotten, and most of which are seldom 
read ; one of these sequestered pools of obsolete literature, 
to which modern authors repair, and draw buckets full of 
classic lore, or "pure English, undefiled," wherewith to swell 
their own scanty rills of thought. 

Being now in possession of the secret, I sat down in a corner, 
and watched the process of this book manufactory. I noticed 
one lean, bilious-looking wight, who sought none but the most 
worm-eaten volumes, printed in black-letter. He was evidently 
constructing some work of profound erudition, that would be 
purchased by every man who wished to be thought learned, 
placed upon a conspicuous shelf of his library, or laid open 
upon his table but never read. I observed him, now and 
then, draw a large fragment of biscuit out of his pocket, and 
gnaw ; whether it was his dinner, or whether he was endeavor- 
ing to keep off that exhaustion of the stomach, produced by 
much pondering over dry works, I leave to harder students 
than myself to determine. 

There was one dapper little gentleman in bright colored 
clothes, with a chirping gossiping expression of countenance 
who had all the appearance of an author on good terms with 
his bookseller. After considering him attentively, I recognized 
in him a diligent getter-up of miscellaneous works, which bus- 
tled off well with the trade. I was curious to see how he man- 
ufactured his wares- He made more stir and show of business 
than any of the others ; dipping into various books, fluttering 
over the leaves of manuscripts, taking a morsel out of one, a 
morsel out of another, " line upon line, precept upon precept, 
here a little and there a little." The contents of his book 


seemed to be as heterogeneous as those of the witches' caldron 
in Macbeth. It was here a finger and there a thumb, toe of 
frog and blind worm's sting, with his own gossip poured in like 
" baboon's blood," to make the medley " slab and good." 

After all, thought I, may not this pilfering disposition be im- 
planted in authors for wise purposes ? may it not be the way in 
which Providence has taken care that the seeds of knowledge 
and wisdom shall be preserved from age to age, in spite of the 
inevitable decay of the works in which they were first produced? 
We see that Nature has wisely, though whimsically provided 
for the conveyance of seeds from clime to clime, in the maws 
of certain birds ; so that animals, which, in themselves, are 
little better than carrion, and apparently the lawless plunderers 
of the orchard and the corn-field, are, in fact, Nature's carriers 
to disperse and perpetuate her blessings. In like manner, the 
beauties and fine thoughts of ancient and obsolete authors are 
caught up by these flights of predatory writers, and cast forth, 
again to flourish and bear fruit in a remote and distant tract of 
time. Many of their works, also, undergo a kind of metempsy- 
chosis, and spring up under new forms. What was formerly a 
ponderous history, revives in the shape of a romance an old 
legend changes into a modern play and a sober philosophical 
treatise furnishes the body for a whole series of bouncing and 
sparkling essays. Thus it is in the clearing of our American 
woodlands; where we burn down a forest of stately pines, a 
progeny of dwarf oaks start up in their place ; and we never 
see the prostrate trunk of a tree, mouldering into soil, but it 
gives birth to a whole tribe of fungi. 

Let us not, then, lament over the decay and oblivion into 
which ancient writers descend ; they do but submit to the great 
law of Nature, which declares that all sublunary shapes of mat- 
ter shall be limited in their duration, but which decrees, also, 
that their elements shall never perish. Generation after gen- 
eration, both in animal and vegetable life, passes away, but the 
vital principle is transmitted to posterity, and the species con- 
tinue to flourish. Thus, also, do authors beget authors, and 
having produced a numerous progeny, in a good old age they 
sleep with their fathers ; that is to say, with the authors who 
preceded them and from whom they had stolen. 

Whilst I was indulging in these rambling fancies I had leaned 
my head against a pile of reverend folios. Whether it was 
owing to the soporific emanations from these works ; or to the 
profound quiet of the room ; or to the lassitude arising from 
much wandering; or to an unlucky habit of napping at im- 


proper times and places, with which I am grievously afflicted, so 
it was, that I fell into a doze. Still, however, my imagination 
continued busy, and indeed the same scene remained before 
my mind's eye, only a little changed in some of the details. 
I dreamt that the chamber was still decorated with the por- 
traits of ancient authors, but that the number was increased. The 
long tables had disappeared, and in place of the sage magi, I 
beheld a ragged, threadbare throng, such as may be seen plying: 
about the great repository of cast-off clothes, Monmouth-street- 
Whenever they seized upon a book, by one of those incongru- 
ities common to dreams, methought it turned into a garment of 
foreign or antique fashion, with which they proceeded to equip 
themselves. I noticed, however, that no one pretended to 
clothe himself from any particular suit, but took a sleeve from 
one, a cape from another, a skirt from a third, thus decking 
himself out piecemeal, while some of his original rags would 
peep out from among his borrowed finery. 

There was a portly, rosy, well-fed parson, whom I observed 
ogling several mouldy polemical writers through an eye-glass. 
He soon contrived to slip on the voluminous mantle of one of 
the old fathers, and having purloined the gray beard of another, 
endeavored to look exceedingly wise ; but the smirking common- 
place of his countenance set at naught all the trappings of wis- 
dom. One sickly-looking gentleman was busied embroidering 
a very flimsy garment with gold thread drawn out of several old 
court-dresses of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Another had 
trimmed himself magnificently from an illuminated manuscript, 
had stuck a nosegay in his bosom, culled from " The Paradise 
of Daintie Devices," and having put Sir Philip Sidney's hat on 
one side of his head, strutted off with an exquisite air of vulgar 
elegance. A third, who was but of puny dimensions, had bol- 
stered himself out bravely with the spoils from several obscure 
tracts of philosophy, so that he had a very imposing front, but 
he was lamentably tattered in rear, and I perceived that he had 
patched his small-clothes with scraps of parchment from a Latin 

There were some well-dressed gentlemen, it is true, who only 
helped themselves- to a gem or so, which sparkled among their 
own ornaments, without eclipsing them. Some, too, seemed 
to contemplate the costumes of the old writers, merely to im- 
bibe their principles of taste, and to catch their air and spirit ; 
but I grieve to say, that too many were apt to array themselves, 
from top to toe, in the patch-work manner I have mentioned. 
I shall not omit to speak of one genius, in drab breeches and 


gaiters, and an Arcadian hat, who had a violent propensity to 
the pastoral, but whose rural wanderings had been confined to 
the classic haunts of Primrose Hill, and the solitudes of the 
Regent's Park. He had decked himself in wreaths and ribbons 
from all the old pastoral poets, and hanging his head on one 
side, went about with a fantastical, lack-a-daisical air, " bab- 
bling about green fields." But the personage that most struck 
my attention, was a pragmatical old gentleman, in clerical 
robes, with a remarkably large and square, but bald head. 
He entered the room wheezing and puffing, elbowed his way 
through the throng, with a look of sturdy self-confidence, and 
having laid hands upon a thick Greek quarto, clapped it 
upon his head, and swept majestically away in a formidable 
frizzled wig. 

In the height of this literary masquerade, a cry suddenly 
resounded from every side, of "thieves! thieves!" I looked, 
and lo ! the portraits about the walls became animated ! The 
old authors thrust out first a head, then a shoulder, from the 
canvas, looked down curiously, for an instant, upon the motley 
throng, and then descended, with fury in their eyes, to claim 
their rifled property. The scene of scampering and hubbub 
that ensued baffles all description. The unhappy culprits 
endeavored in vain to escape with their plunder. On one 
side might be seen half-a-dozen old monks, stripping a modern 
professor ; on another, there was sad devastation carried into the 
ranks of modern dramatic writers. Beaumont and Fletcher, 
side by side, raged round the field like Castor and Pollux, and 
sturdy Ben Jonson enacted more wonders than when a volun- 
teer with the army in Flanders. As to the dapper little com- 
piler of farragos, mentioned some time since, he had arrayed 
himself in as many patches and colors as Harlequin, and 
there was as fierce a contention of claimants about him, as 
about the dead body of Patroclus. I was grieved to see many 
men, to whom I had been accustomed to look up with awe and 
reverence, fain to steal off with scarce a rag to cover their 
nakedness. Just then my eye was caught by the pragmatical 
old gentleman in the Greek grizzled wig, who was scrambling 
away in sore affright with half a score of authors in full cry 
after him. They were close upon his haunches ; in a twinkling 
off went his wig ; at every turn some strip of raiment was 
peeled away ; until in a few moments, from his domineering 
pomp, he shrunk into a little pursy, " chopped bald shot," and 
made his exit with only a few tags and rags fluttering at his 


There was something so ludicrous in the catastrophe of this 
learned Theban, that I burst into an immoderate fit of laughter, 
which broke the whole illusion. The tumult and the scuffle 
were at an end. The chamber resumed its usual appearance. 
The old authors shrunk back into their picture-frames, and 
hung in shadowy solemnity along the walls. In short, I found 
myself wide awake in my corner, with the whole assemblage 
of bookworms gazing at me with astonishment. Nothing of 
the dream had been real but my burst of laughter, a sound 
never before heard in that grave sanctuary, and so abhorrent 
to the ears of wisdom, as to electrify the fraternity. 

The librarian now stepped up to me, and demanded whether 
I had a card of admission. At first I did not comprehend him, 
but I soon found that the library was a kind of literary " pre- 
serve," subject to game laws, and that no one must presume 
to hunt there without special license and permission. In a 
word, I stood convicted of being an arrant poacher, and was 
glad to make a precipitate retreat, lest I should have a whole 
pack of authors let loose upon me. 


Though your body be confined 

And soft love a prisoner bound, 
Yet the beauty of your mind 
Neither check nor chain hath found. 
Look out nobly, then, and dare 
Even the fetters that you wear. FLETCHER. 

ON a soft sunny morning in the genial month of May, I made 
an excursion to Windsor Castle. It is a place full of storied 
and poetical associations. The very external aspect of the 
proucl old pile is enough to inspire high thought. It rears its 
irregular walls and massive towers, like a mural crown round 
the brow of a lofty ridge, waves its royal banner in the clouds, 
and looks down with a lordly air upon the surrounding world. 

On this morning, the weather was of that voluptuous vernal 
kind which calls forth all the latent romance of a man's tem- 
perament, filling his mind with music, and disposing him to 
quote poetry and dream of beauty. In wandering through the 
magnificent saloons and long echoing galleries of the castle, 
I passed with indifference by whole rows of portraits of war- 


riors and statesmen, but lingered in the chamber where hang 
the likenesses of the beauties which graced the gay court of 
Charles the Second ; and as I gazed upon them, depicted with 
amorous half -dishevelled tresses, and the sleepy eye of love, I 
blessed the pencil of Sir Peter Lely, which had thus enabled me 
to bask in the reflected rays of beauty. In traversing also the 
" large green courts," with sunshine beaming on the gray walls 
and glancing along the velvet turf, my mind was engrossed 
with the image of the tender, the gallant, but hapless Surrey, 
and his account of his loiterings about them in his stripling days, 
when enamoured of the Lady Geraldine 

" With eyes cast up unto the maiden's tower, 
With easie sighs, such as men draw in love." 

In this mood of mere poetical susceptibilit}', I visited the 
ancient keep of the castle, where James the First of Scotland, 
the pride and theme of Scottish poets and historians, was for 
many years of his youth detained a prisoner of state. It is a 
large gray tower, that has stood the brunt of ages, and is still 
in good preservation. It stands on a mound which elevates it 
above the other parts of the castle, and a great flight of steps 
leads to the interior. In the armory, a Gothic hall, furnished 
with weapons of various kinds and ages, I was shown a coat 
of armor hanging against the wall, which had once belonged to 
James. Hence I was conducted up a staircase to a suite of 
apartments of faded magnificence, hung with storied tapestry, 
which formed his prison, and the scene of that passionate and 
fanciful amour, which has woven into the web of his story the 
magical hues of poetry and fiction. 

The whole history of this amiable but unfortunate prince is 
highly romantic. At the tender age of eleven, he was sent 
from home by his father, Robert III., and destined for the 
French court, to be reared under the eye of the French mon- 
arch, secure from the treachery and danger that surrounded 
the royal house of Scotland. It was his mishap, in the course 
of his voyage, to fall into the hands of the English, and he was 
detained prisoner by Henry IV., notwithstanding that a truce ex- 
isted between the two countries. 

The intelligence of his capture, coming in the train of many 
sorrows and disasters, proved fatal to his unhappy father. 

"The news," we are told, "was brought to him while at 
supper, and did so overwhelm him with grief, that he was almost 
ready to give up the ghost into the hands of the servants that 


attended him. But being carried to his bed-chamber, he ab- 
stained from all food, and in three days died of hunger and 
grief, at Rothesay." 1 

James was detained in captivity above eighteen years ; but 
though deprived of personal liberty, he was treated with the 
respect due to his rank. Care was taken to instruct him in all 
the branches of useful knowledge cultivated at that period, and 
to give him those mental and personal accomplishments deemed 
proper for a prince. Perhaps in this respect, his imprisonment 
was an advantage, as it enabled him to apply himself the more 
exclusively to his improvement, and quietly to imbibe that rich 
fund of knowledge, and to cherish those elegant tastes, which 
have given such a lustre to his memory. The picture drawn 
of him in early life, by the Scottish historians, is highly capti- 
vating, and seems rather the description of a hero of romance, 
than of a character in real history. He was well learnt, we are 
told, " to fight with the sword, to joust, to tournay, to wrestle, 
to sing and dance ; he was an expert mediciner, right crafty in 
playing both of lute and harp, and sundry other instruments of 
music, and was expert in grammar, oratory, and poetry." 2 

With this combination of manly and delicate accomplish- 
ments, fitting him to shine both in active and elegant life, and 
calculated to give him an intense relish for joyous existence, it 
must have been a severe trial, in an age of bustle and chivalry, 
to pass the spring-time of his years in monotonous captivity. 
It was the good fortune of James, however, to be gifted with a 
powerful poetic fancy, and to be visited in his prison by the 
choicest inspirations of the muse. Some minds corrode, and 
grow inactive, under the loss of personal liberty ; others grow 
morbid and irritable ; but it is the nature of the poet to become 
tender and imaginative in the loneliness of confinement. He 
banquets upon the honey of his own thoughts, and, like the 
captive bird, pours forth his soul in melody. 

Have you not seen the nightingale, 

A pilgrim coop'd into a cage, 
How doth she chant her wonted tale, 

In that her lonely hermitage ! 

Even there her charming melody doth prove 
That all her boughs are trees, her cage a grove. 8 

Indeed, it is the divine attribute of the imagination, that it 
is irrepressible, unconfinable ; that when the real world is shut 

1 Buchanan. - Ballenden's translation of Hector Boyce. 3 Roger L'Estrange. 


out, it can create a world for itself, and, with necromantic 
power, can conjure up glorious shapes and forms, and brilliant 
visions, to make solitude populous, and irradiate the gloom of 
the dungeon. Such was the world of pomp and pageant that 
lived round Tasso in his dismal cell at Ferrara, when he con- 
ceived the splendid scenes of his Jerusalem ; and we may con- 
sider the "King's Quair," 1 composed by James during his 
captivity at Windsor, as another of those beautiful breakings 
forth of the soul from the restraint and gloom of the prison, 

The subject of the poem is his love for the lady Jane Beau- 
fort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, and a princess of fehe 
blood-royal of England, of whom he became enamoured in the 
course of his captivity. What gives it a peculiar value, is, that 
it may be considered a transcript of the royal bard's true feel- 
ings, and the story of his real loves and fortunes. It is not 
often that sovereigns write poetry, or that poets deal in fact. 
It is gratifying to the pride of a common man, to find a mon- 
arch thus suing, as it were, for admission into his closet, and 
seeking to win his favor by administering to his pleasures. It 
is a proof of the honest equality of intellectual competition, 
which strips off all the trappings of factitious dignity, brings 
the candidate down to a level with his fellow-men, and obliges 
him to depend on his own native powers for distinction. It is 
curious, too, to get at the history of a monarch's heart, and to 
find the simple affections of human nature throbbing under the 
ermine. But James had learnt to be a poet before he was a 
king ; he was schooled in adversity, and reared in the company 
of his own thoughts. Monarchs have seldom time to parley 
with their hearts, or to meditate their minds into poetry ; and 
had James been brought up amidst the adulation and gayety of 
a court, we should never, in all probability, have had such a 
poem as the Quair. 

I have been particularly interested by those parts of the poem 
which breathe his immediate thoughts concerning his situation, 
or which are connected with the apartment in the Tower. They 
have thus a personal and local charm, and are given with such 
circumstantial truth, as to make the reader present with the cap- 
tive in his prison, and the companion of his meditations. 

Such is the account which he gives of his weariness of spirit, 
and of the incident which first suggested the idea of writing the 
poem. It was the still mid-watch of a clear moonlight night ; 

1 Quair, an old terra for Book- 


the stars, he says, were twinkling as fire in the high vault 
of heaven, and "Cynthia rinsing her golden locks in Aqua- 
rius" he lay in bed wakeful and restless, and took a book to 
beguile the tedious hours. The book he chose was Boetius' 
Consolations of Philosophy, a work popular among the writers 
of that day, and which had been translated by his great proto- 
type Chaucer. From the high eulogium in which he indulges, 
it is evident this was one of his favorite volumes while in 
prison ; and indeed, it is an admirable text-book for meditation 
under adversity. It is the legacy of a noble and enduring 
spirit, purified by sorrow and suffering, bequeathing to its suc- 
cessors in calamity the maxims of sweet morality, and the trains 
of eloquent but simple reasoning, by which it was 'enabled to 
bear up against the various ills of life. It is a talisman which 
the unfortunate may treasure up in his bosom, or, like the good 
King James, lay upon his nightly pillow. 

After closing the volume, he turns its contents over in his 
mind, and gradually falls into a fit of musing on the fickleness 
of fortune, the vicissitudes of his own life, and the evils that 
had overtaken him even in his tender youth. Suddenly he 
hears the bell ringing to matins, but its sound chiming in with 
his melancholy fancies, seems to him like a voice exhorting him 
to write his story. In the spirit of poetic errantry, he deter- 
mines to comply with this intimation ; he therefore takes pen 
in hand, makes with it a sign of the cross, to implore a bene- 
diction, and sallies forth into the fairy land of poetry. There 
is something extremely fanciful in all this, and it is interesting 
as furnishing a striking and beautiful instance of the simple 
manner in which whole trains of poetical thought are sometimes 
awakened, and literary enterprises suggested to the mind. 

In the course of his poem, he more than once bewails the 
peculiar hardness of his fate, thus doomed to lonely and inac- 
tive life, and shut up from the freedom and pleasure of the 
world, in which the meanest animal indulges unrestrained. 
There is a sweetness, however, in his very complaints ; they 
are the lamentations of an amiable and social spirit, at being- 
denied the indulgence of its kind and generous propensities ; 
there is nothing in them harsh or exaggerated ; they flow with 
a natural and touching pathos, and are perhaps rendered more 
touching by their simple brevity. They contrast finely with 
those elaborate and iterated repinings which we sometimes meet 
with in poetry, the effusions of morbid minds, sickening under 
miseries of their own creating, and venting their bitterness upon 
an unoffending world. James speaks of his privations with 


acute sensibility ; but having mentioned them, passes on, as if 
his manly mind disdained to brood over unavoidable calamities. 
When such a spirit breaks forth into complaint, however brief, 
we are aware how great must be the suffering that extorts the 
murmur. We sympathize with James, a romantic, active, and 
accomplished prince, cut off in the lustihood of youth from all 
the enterprise, the noble uses and vigorous delights of life, as 
we do with Milton, alive to all the beauties of nature and glories 
of art, when he breathes forth brief but deep-toned lamenta- 
tions over his perpetual blindness. 

Had not James evinced a deficiency of poetic artifice, we 
might almost have suspected that these lowerings of gloomy 
reflection were meant as preparative to the brightest scene of 
his story, and to contrast with that refulgence of light and love- 
liness, that exhilarating accompaniment of bird, and song, and 
foliage, and flower, and all the revel of the year, with which he 
ushers in the lady of his heart. It is this scene in particular 
which throws all the magic of romance about the old castle 
keep. He had risen, he s'ays, at day-break, according to cus- 
tom, to escape from the dreary meditations of a sleepless pillow. 
"Bewailing in his chamber thus alone," despairing of all joy 
and remedy, " for, tired of thought, and wo-begone," he had 
wandered to the window, to indulge the captive's miserable 
solace, of gazing wistfully upon the world from which he is ex- 
cluded. The window looked forth upon a small garden which 
lay at the foot of the tower. It was a quiet, sheltered spot, 
adorned with arbors and green alleys, and protected from the 
passing gaze by trees and hawthorn hedges. 

Now was there made, fast by the tower's wall 

A garden faire, and in the corners set, 
An arbour green with wandis long and small 

Railed about, and so with leaves beset 
Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet, 

That lyf 1 was none, walkyng there forbye, 

That might within scarce any wight espye. 

So thick the branches and the leves grene, 

Beshaded all the alleys that there were, 
And midst of every arbour might be sene 

The sharpe, grene, swete juniper, 
Growing so faire with branches here and there, 

That as it seemed to a lyf without, 

The boughs did spread the arbour all about. 



And on the small green twistis ' set 

The lytel swete uyghtingales, and sung, 
So loud and clere, the hymnis consecrate 

Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among, 
That all the garden and the wallis rung 

Ryght of their song 

NOTE. The language of the quotations is generally modernized. 

It was the month of May, when every thing was in bloon\ v 
and he interprets the song of the nightingale into the language 
of his enamoured feeling : 

Worship all ye that lovers be this May; 

For of your bliss the kalends are begun, 
And sing with us, away, winter, away, 

Come, summer, come, the sweet season and sun. 

As he gazes on the scene, and listens to the notes of the 
birds, he gradually relapses into one of those tender and undefin- 
able reveries, which fill the youthful bosom in this delicious 
season. He wonders what this love may be, of which* he has 
so often read, and which thus seems breathed forth in the 
quickening breath of May, and melting all nature into ecstasy 
and song. If it really be so great a felicity, and if it be a boon 
thus generally dispensed to the most insignificant beings, why 
is he alone cut off from its enjoyments ? 

Oft would I think, O Lord, what may this be, 

That love is of such noble rayght and kyude? 
Loving his folke, and such prosperltee, 

Is it of him, as we in books do find; 
May he oure hertes setten 2 and unbynd : 
Hath he upon oure hertes such maistrye? 
Or is all this but feynit fantasye? 
For giff he be of so grete excellence 

That he of every wight hath care and charge, 
What have I gilt 3 to him, or done offence, 

That I am thral'd and birdis go at large? 

In the midst of his musing, as he casts his eye downward, 
he beholds " the fairest and freshest young floure " that ever he 
had seen. It is the lovely Lady Jane, walking in the garden to 
enjoy the beauty of that "fresh May morrowe." Breaking 
thus suddenly upon his sight in the moment of loneliness and 
excited susceptibility, sfre at once captivates the fancy of the 

1 Twistis, small boughs or twigs. 2 Setten, incline. 

3 Gilt, what injury have I done, etc. 


romantic prince, and becomes the object of bis wandering 
wishes, the sovereign of his ideal world. 

There is in this charming scene an evident resemblance to 
the early part of Chaucer's Knight's Tale, where Palamon and 
Arcite fall in love with Emilia, whom they see walking in the 
garden of their prison. Perhaps the similarity of the actual 
fact to the incident which he had read in Chaucer, may have 
induced James to dwell on it in his poem. His description of 
the Lady Jane is given in the picturesque and minute manner 
of his master, and being, doubtless, taken from the life, is a 
perfect portrait of a beauty of that day. He dwells with the 
fondness of a lover on every article of her apparel, from the net 
of pearl, splendent with emeralds and sapphires, that confined 
her golden hair, even to the " goodly chaine of small orfev- 
erye " 1 about her neck, whereby there hung a ruby in shape of 
a heart, that seemed, he says, like a spark of fire burning upon 
her white bosom. Her dress of white tissue was looped up, to 
enable her to walk with more freedom. She was accompanied 
by two female attendants, and about her sported a little hound 
decorated with bells, probably the small Italian hound, of 
exquisite symmetry, which was a parlor favorite and pet among 
the fashionable dames of ancient times. James closes his 
description by a burst of general eulogium : 

In her was youth, beauty with humble port, 

Bounty, richesse, and womanly feature, 
God better knows than my pen can report, 

Wisdom, largesse, 2 estate, 3 and cunning 4 sure. 
In every point so guided her measure, 

In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance, 

That nature might no more her child advance. 

The departure of the Lady Jane from the garden puts an 
end to this transient riot of the heart. With her departs the 
amorous illusion that had shed a temporary charm over the 
scene of his captivity, and he relapses into loneliness, now ren- 
dered tenfold more intolerable by this passing beam of unat- 
tainable beauty. Through the long and weary day he repines 
at his unhappy lot, and when evening approaches and Phoebus, 
as he beautifully expresses it, had " bade farewell to every leaf 
and flower," he still lingers at the window, and, laying his head 
upon the cold stone, gives vent to a mingled flow of love and 
sorrow, until, gradually lulled by the mute melancholy of the 

1 Wrought gold. 2 Largesse, bounty, s Estate, dignity. * Cunning, discretion. 


twilight hour, he lapses, "half-sleeping, half-swoon," into a 
vision, which occupies the remainder of the poem, and in which 
is allegorically shadowed out the history of his passion. 

When he wakes from his trance, he rises from his stony pil- 
low, and pacing his apartment full of dreary reflections, ques- 
tions his spirit whither it has been wandering ; whether, indeed, 
all that has passed before his dreaming fancy has been conjured 
up by preceding circumstances, or whether it is a vision intended 
to comfort and assure him in his despondency. If the latter, 
he prays that some token may be sent to confirm the promise 
of happier days, given him in his slumbers. 

Suddenly a turtle-dove of the purest whiteness comes flying 
in at the window, and alights upon his hand, bearing in her bill 
a branch of red gilliflower, on the leaves of which is written in 
letters of gold, the following sentence : 

Awake ! awake ! I bring, lover, I bring 

The newis glad, that blissful is and sure, 
Of thy comfort; now laugh, and play, and sing, 

For in the heaven decretit is thy cure. 

He receives the branch with mingled hope and dread ; reads 
it with rapture, and this he says was the first token of his suc- 
ceeding happiness. Whether this is a mere poetic fiction, or 
whether the Lady Jane did actually send him a token of her 
favor in this romantic way, remains to be determined according 
to the faith or fancy of the reader. He concludes his poem by 
intimating that the promise conveyed in the vision, and by the 
flower, is fulfilled by his being restored to liberty, and made 
happy in the possession of the sovereign of his heart. 

Such is the poetical account given by James of his love ad- 
ventures in Windsor Castle. How much of it is absolute fact, 
and how much the embellishment of fancy, it is fruitless to con- 
jecture; let us not, however, reject any romantic incident 
as incompatible with real life, but let us sometimes take 
a poet at his word. I have noticed merely those parts of 
the poem immediately connected with the tower, and have 
passed over a large part written in the allegorical vein, so 
much cultivated at that day. The language of course is 
quaint and antiquated, so that the beauty of many of its golden 
phrases will scarcely be perceived at the present day ; but it is 
impossible not to be charmed with the genuine sentiment, the 
delightful artlessness and urbanity, which prevail throughout it. 
The descriptions of Nature, too, with which it is embellished. 


are given with a truth, a discrimination, and a freshness, worthy 
of the most cultivated periods of the arts. 

As an amatory poem, it is edifying, in these days of coarser 
thinking, to notice the nature, refinement, and exquisite delicacy 
which pervade it, banishing every gross thought, or immodest 
expression, and presenting female loveliness clothed in all its 
chivalrous attributes of almost supernatural purity and grace. 

James nourished nearly about the time of Chaucer and Gower, 
and was evidently an admirer and studier of their writings. 
Indeed, in one of his stanzas he acknowledges them as his 
masters, and in some parts of his poem we find traces of simi- 
larity to their productions, more especially to those of Chaucer. 
There are always, however, general features of resemblance in 
the works of contemporary authors, which are not so much bor- 
rowed from each other as from the times. Writers, like bees, 
toll their sweets in the wide world ; they incorporate with their 
own conceptions the anecdotes and thoughts current in society, 
and thus each generation has some features in common, 
characteristic of the age in which it lived. James belongs 
to one of the most brilliant erns of our literary history, 
and establishes the claims of his country to a participation in 
its primitive honors. Whilst a small cluster of English writers 
are constantly cited as the fathers of our verse, the name of 
their great Scottish compeer is apt to be passed over in silence ; 
but he is evidently worthy of being enrolled in that little con- 
stellation of remote, but never-failing luminaries, who shine in 
the highest firmament of literature, and who, like morning stars, 
sang together at the bright dawning of British poesy. 

Such of my readers as may not Ije familiar with Scottish his- 
tory, (though the manner in which it has of late been woven 
with captivating fiction has made it a universal study,) may be 
curious to learn something of the subsequent history of James, 
and the fortunes of his love. His passion for the Lady Jane, 
as it was the solace of his captivity, so it facilitated his release, 
it being imagined by the Court, that a connection with the 
blood-royal of England would attach him to its own interests. 
He was ultimately restored to his liberty and crown, having 
previously espoused the Lady Jane, who" accompanied him to 
Scotland, and made him a most tender and devoted wife. 

He found his kingdom in great confusion, the feudal chief- 
tains having taken advantage of the troubles and irregularities 
of a long interregnum to strengthen themselves in their pos- 
sessions, and place themselves above the power of the laws. 
James sought to found the basis of his power in the affections 


of his people. He attached the lower orders to him by the 
reformation of abuses, the temperate and equable administra- 
tion of justice, the encouragement of the arts of peace, and the 
promotion of every thing that could diffuse comfort, competency, 
and innocent enjoyment, through the humblest ranks of society. 
He mingled occasionally among the common people in disguise ; 
visited their firesides ; entered into their cares, their pursuits, 
and their amusements ; informed himself of the mechanical arts, 
and how they could best be patronized and improved ; and was 
thus an all-pervading spirit, watching with a benevolent eye 
over the meanest of his subjects. Having in this generous 
manner made himself strong in the hearts of the common people, 
he turned himself to curb the power of the factious nobility ; 
to strip them of those dangerous immunities which they had 
usurped ; to punish such as had been guilty of flagrant offences ; 
and to bring the whole into proper obedience to the crown. For 
some time they bore this with outward submission, but with 
secret impatience and brooding resentment. A conspiracy was 
at length formed against his life, at the head of which was his 
own uncle, Robert Stewart, Earl of Athol, who, being too old 
himself for the perpetration of the deed of blood, instigated his 
grandson, Sir Robert Stewart, together with Sir Robert Graham, 
and others of less note, to commit the deed. They broke into 
his bed-chamber at the Dominican convent near Perth, where 
he was residing, and barbarously murdered him by oft-repeated 
wounds. His faithful queen, rushing to throw her tender body 
between him and the sword, was twice wounded in the ineffec- 
tual attempt to shield him from the assassin ; and it was not 
until she had been forcibly torn from his person, that the murder 
was accomplished. 

It was the recollection of this romantic tale of former times, 
and of the golden little poem, which had its birth-place in this 
tower, that made me visit the old pile with more than common 
interest. The suit of armor hanging up in the hall, richly gilt 
and embellished, as if to figure in the tournay, brought the 
image of the gallant and romantic prince vividly before my 
imagination. I paced the deserted chambers where he had 
composed his poem ; I leaned upon the window, and endeav- 
ored to persuade myself it was the very one where he had 
been visited by his vision ; I looked out upon the spot where 
he had first seen the Lady Jane. It was the same genial and 
joyous month : the birds were again vying with each other in 
strains of liquid melody : every thing was bursting into vegeta- 
tion, and budding forth the tender promise of the year. Time, 


which delights to obliterate the sterner memorials of human 
pride, seems to have passed lightly over this little scene of 
poetry and love, and to have withheld his desolating hand. 
Several centuries have gone by, yet the garden still flourishes 
at the foot of the tower. It occupies what was once the moat 
of the keep, and though some parts have been separated by 
dividing walls, yet others have still their arbors and shaded 
walks, as in the days of James ; and the whole is sheltered, 
blooming, and retired. There is a charm about a spot thr.t 
has been printed by the footsteps of departed beauty, and con^ 
secrated by the inspirations of the poet, which is heightened, 
rather than impaired, by the lapse of ages. It is, indeed, the 
gift of poetiy, to hallow every place in which it moves ; to 
breathe round nature an odor more exquisite than the perfume 
of the rose, and to shed over it a tint more magical than the 
blush of morning. 

Others may dwell on the illustrious deeds of James as a war- 
rior and a legislator ; but I have delighted to view him merely as 
the companion of his fellow-men, the benefactor of the human 
heart, stooping from his high estate to sow the sweet flowers of 
poetry and song in the paths of common life. He was the first 
to cultivate the vigorous and hardy plant of Scottish genius, 
which has since been so prolific of the most wholesome and 
highly flavored fruit. He carried with him into the sterner re- 
gions of the north, all the fertilizing arts of southern refinement. 
He did every thing in his power to win his countrymen to the 
gay, the elegant, and gentle arts which soften and refine the 
character of a people, and wreathe a grace round the loftiness 
of a proud and warlike spirit. He wrote many poems, which, 
unfortunately for the fulness of his fame, are now lost to the 
world ; one, which is still preserved, called " Christ's Kirk of 
the Green," shows how diligently he had made himself ac- 
quainted with the rustic sports and pastimes, which constitute 
such a source of kind and social feeling among the Scottish peas- 
antry ; and with what simple and happy humor he could enter 
into their enjoyments. He contributed greatly to improve the 
national music ; and traces of his tender sentiment and elegant 
taste are said to exist in those witching airs, still piped among 
the wild mountains and lonely glens of Scotland. He has thus 
connected his image with whatever is most gracious and endear- 
ing in the national character ; he has embalmed his memory in 
song, and floated his name down to after-ages in the rich streams 
of Scottish melody. The recollection of these things was kin- 
dling at my heart, as I paced the silent scene of his imprison- 


ment. I have visited Vaticluse with as much enthusiasm as a 
pilgrim would visit the shrine at Loretto ; but I have never felt 
more poetical devotion than when contemplating the old tower 
and the little garden at Windsor, and musing over the romantic 
loves of the Lady Jane, and the Royal Poet of Scotland. 


A gentleman ! 

What, o' the woolpack? or the sugar-chest? 
Or lists of velvet? which is't, pound, or yard, 
You vend your gentry by ? BEGGAR'S BUSH. 

THERE are few places more favorable to the study of char- 
acter than an English country church. I was once passing a 
few weeks at the seat of a friend, who resided in the vicinity 
of one, the appearance of which particularly struck my fancy. 
It was one of those rich morsels of quaint antiquity, which give 
such a peculiar charm to English landscape. It stood in the 
midst of a county filled with ancient families, and contained, 
within its cold and silent aisles, the congregated dust of many 
noble generations. The interior walls were encrusted with 
monuments of every age and style. The light streamed through 
windows dimmed with armorial bearings, richly emblazoned in 
stained glass. In various parts of the church were tombs of 
knights, and high-born dames, of gorgeous workmanship, with 
their effigies in colored marble. On every side, the eye was 
struck with some instance of aspiring mortality ; some haughty 
memorial which human pride had erected over its kindred dust, 
in this temple of the most humble of all religions. 

The congregation was composed of the neighboring people 
of rank, who sat in pews sumptuously lined and cushioned, 
furnished with richly-gilded prayer-books, and decorated with 
their arms upon the pew doors ; of the villagers and peasantry, 
who filled the back seats, and a small gallery beside the organ ; 
and of the poor of the parish, who were ranged on benches in 
the aisles. 

The service was performed b}' a snuffling, well-fed vicar, who 
had a snug dwelling near the church. He was a privileged 
guest at all the tables of the neighborhood, and had been the 
keenest fox-hunter in the country, until age and good living 
had disabled him from doing any thing more than ride to see 
the hounds throw off, and make one at the hunting dinner. 


Under the ministry of such a pastor. I found it impossible to 
get into the train of* thought suitable to the time and place ; so 
having, like many other feeble Christians, compromised with 
my conscience, by laying the sin of my own delinquency at 
another person's threshold, I occupied myself by making obser- 
vations on my neighbors. 

I was as yet a stranger in England, and curious to notice the 
manners of its fashionable classes. I found, as usual, that 
there was the least pretension where there was the most ac- 
knowledged title to respect. I was particularly struck, for 
instance, with the family of a nobleman of high rank, consist- 
ing of several sons and daughters. Nothing could be more 
simple and unassuming than their appearance. They generally 
came to church in the plainest equipage, and often on foot. 
'The young ladies would stop and converse in the kindest man- 
ner with the peasantry, caress the children, and listen to the 
stories of the humble cottagers. Their countenances were open 
and beautifully fair, with an expression of high refinement, but 
at the same time, a frank cheerfulness, and engaging affability. 
Their brothers were tall, and elegantly formed. They were 
dressed fashionably, but simply ; with strict neatness and pro- 
priety, but without any mannerism or foppishness. Their whole 
demeanor was easy and natural, with that lofty grace, and 
noble frankness, which bespeak free-born souls that have never 
been checked in their growth by feelings of inferiority. There 
is a healthful hardiness about real dignity, that never dreads 
contact and communion with others, however humble. It is 
only spurious pride that is morbid and sensitive, and shrinks 
from every touch. I was pleased to see the manner in which 
they would converse with the peasantry about those rural con- 
cerns and field sports, in which the gentlemen of this country 
so much delight. In these conversations, there was neither 
haughtiness on the one part, nor servility on the other ; and you 
were only reminded of the difference of rank by the habitual 
respect of the peasant. 

In contrast to these, was the family of a wealthy citizen, 
who had amassed a vast fortune, and, having purchased the 
estate and mansion of a ruined nobleman in the neighborhood, 
was endeavoring to assume all the style and dignity of an heredi- 
tary lord of the soil. The family always came to church en 
prince. They were rolled majestically along in a carriage embla- 
zoned with arms. The crest glittered in silver radiance from 
every part of the harness where a crest could possibly be placed. 
A fat coachman in a three-cornered hat, richly laced, and a flaxen 


wig, curling close round his rosy face, was seated on the box, 
with a sleek Danish dog beside him. Two footmen in gorgeous 
liveries, with huge bouquets, and gold-headed canes, lolled be- 
hind. The carriage rose and sunk on its long springs with a 
peculiar stateliness of motion. The very horses champed their 
bits, arched their necks, and glanced their eyes more proudly 
than common horses ; either because they had caught a little of 
the family feeling, or were reined up more tightly than ordi- 

I could not but admire the style with which this splendid 
pageant was brought up to the gate of the churchyard. There 
was a vast effect produced at the turning of an angle of the 
wall ; a great smacking of the whip ; straining and scram- 
bling of horses ; glistening of harness, and flashing of wheels 
through gravel. This was the moment of triumph and vain- 
glory to the coachman. The horses were urged and checked, 
until they were fretted into a foam. They threw out their feet 
in a prancing trot, dashing about pebbles at every step. The 
crowd of villagers sauntering quietly to church, opened precipi- 
tately to the right and left, gaping in vacant admiration. On 
reaching the gate, the horses were pulled up with a suddenness 
that produced an immediate stop, and almost threw them on 
their haunches. 

There was an extraordinary hurry of the footmen to alight, 
pull down the steps, and prepare every thing for the de- 
scent on earth of this august family. The old citizen 
first emerged his round red face from out the door, looking 
about him with the pompous air of a man accustomed to rule 
on 'change, and shake the stock-market with a nod. His con- 
sort, a fine, fleshy, comfortable clame, followed him. There 
seemed, I must confess, but little pride in her composition. She 
was the picture of broad, honest, vulgar enjoyment. The world 
went well with her ; and she liked the world. She had fine 
clothes, a fine house, a fine carriage, fine children, every thing 
was fine about her : it was nothing but driving about, and visit- 
ing and feasting. Life was to her a perpetual revel; it was 
one long Lord Mayor's day. 

Two daughters succeeded to this goodly couple. They cer- 
tainly were handsome ; but had a supercilious air that chilled 
admiration, and disposed the spectator to be critical. They 
were ultra-fashionable in dress, and, though no one could deny 
the richness of their decorations, yet their appropriateness 
might be questioned amidst the simplicity of a country church. 
They descended loftily from the carriage, and moved up the 


line of peasantry with a step that seemed dainty of the soil it 
trod on. They cast an excursive glance around, that passed 
coldly over the burly faces of the peasantry, until they met the 
eyes of the nobleman's family, when their countenances imme- 
diately brightened into smiles, and they made the most profound 
and elegant courtesies, which were returned in a manner that 
showed they were but slight acquaintances. 

I must not forget the two sons of this aspiring citizen, who 
came to church in a dashing curricle, with outriders. They were 
arrayed in the extremity of the mode, with all that pedantry of 
dress which marks the man of questionable pretensions to style. 
They kept entirely by themselves, eying every one askance 
that came near them, as if measuring his claims to respecta- 
bility ; yet they were without conversation, except the exchange 
of an occasional cant phrase. They even moved artificially, 
for their bodies, in compliance with the caprice of the day, had 
been disciplined into the absence of all ease and freedom. Art 
had done every thing to accomplish them as men of fashion, 
but Nature had denied them the nameless grace. They were 
vulgarly shaped, like men formed for the common purposes of 
life, and had that air of supercilious assumption which is never 
seen in the true gentleman. 

I have been rather minute in drawing the pictures of these 
two families, because I considered them specimens of what is 
often to be met with in this country the unpretending great, 
and the arrogant little. I have no respect for titled rank, 
unless it be accompanied with true nobility of soul ; but I have 
remarked, in all countries where artificial distinctions exist, 
that the very highest classes are always the most courteous 
and unassuming. Those who are well assured of their own 
standing, are least apt to trespass on that of others : whereas, 
nothing is so offensive as the aspirings of vulgarity, which 
thinks to elevate itself by humiliating its neighbor. 

As I have brought these families into contrast, I must notice 
their behavior in church. That of the nobleman's family was 
quiet, serious, and attentive. Not that they appeared to have 
any fervor of devotion, but rather a respect for sacred things, 
and sacred places, inseparable from good-breeding. The others, 
on the contrary, were in a perpetual flutter and whisper ; they 
betrayed a continual consciousness of finery, and a sorry ambition 
of being the wonders of a rural congregation. 

The old gentleman was the only one really attentive to the 
service. He took the whole burden of family devotion upon 
himself ; standing bolt upright, and uttering the responses with 


a l6ud voice that might be heard all over the church. It was 
evident that he was one of those thorough church and king 
men, who connect the idea of devotion and loyalty ; who con- 
sider the Deity, somehow or other, of the government party, 
and religion " a very excellent sort of thing, that ought to be 
countenanced and kept up." 

When he joined so loudly in the service, it seemed more by 
way of example to the lower orders, to show them, that though 
so great and wealthy, he was not above being religious ; as I 
have seen a turtle-fed alderman swallow publicly a basin of 
charity soup, smacking his lips at every mouthful, and pro- 
nouncing it ;t excellent food for the poor." 

When the service was at an end, I was curious to witness the 
several exits of my groups. The young noblemen and their 
sisters, as the day was fine, preferred strolling home across the 
fields, chatting with the country people as they went. The 
others departed as they came, in grand parade. Again were 
the equipages wheeled up to the gate. There was regain the 
smacking of whips, the clattering of hoofs, and the glittering 
of harness. The horses started off almost at a bound ; the 
villagers again hurried to right and left ; the wheels threw up a 
cloud of dust, and the aspiring family was rapt out of sight in 
a whirlwind. 


Pittie olde age, within whose silver haires 
Honour and reverence evermore have rain'd. 


THOSE who are in the habit of remarking such matters must have 
noticed the passive quiet of an English landscape on Sunday. The 
clacking of the mill, the regularly recurring stroke of the flail, the 
din of the blacksmith's hammer, the whistling of the ploughman, 
the rattling of the cart, and all other sounds of rural labor are sus- 
pended. The very farmdogs bark less frequently, being less dis- 
turbed by passing travellers. At such times I have almost fancied 
the winds sunk into quiet, and that the sunny landscape, with its 
fresh green tints melting into blue haze, enjoyed the hallowed calm. 

Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright, 
The bridal of the earth and sky. 

Well was it ordained that the day of devotion should be a day of rest. 
The holy repose which reigns over the face of Nature has its moral 
influence ; every restless passion is charmed down, and we feel the 
natural religion of the soul gently springing up within us. For my 
part, there are feelings that visit me in a country church, amid the 
beautiful serenity of Nature, which I experience nowhere else ; and 


if not a more religious, I think I am a better, man on Sunday than 
on any other day of the seven. 

During my recent residence in the country I used frequently to 
attend at the old village church. Its shadowy aisles, its mouldering 
monuments, its dark oaken panelling, all reverend with the gloom of 
departed years, seemed to fit it for the haunt of solemn meditation ; 
but, being in a wealthy, aristocratic neighborhood, the glitter of 
fashion penetrated even into the sanctuary, and I felt myself continu- 
ally thrown back upon the world by the frigidity and pomp of the 
poor worms around me. The only being in the whole congregation 
who appeared thoroughly to feel the humble and prostrate piety of 
a true Christian was a poor decrepit old woman bending under the 
weight of years and infirmities. She bore the traces of something 
better than abject poverty. The lingerings of decent pride were 
visible in her appearance. Her dress, though humble in the extreme, 
was scrupulously clean. Some trivial respect, too, had been awarded 
her, for she did not take her seat among the village poor, but sat 
alone on the steps of the altar. She seemed to have survived all 
love, all friendship, all society, and to have nothing left her but the 
hopes of heaven. When I saw her feebly rising and bending her 
aged form in prayer, habitually conning her prayer-book, which her 
palsied hand and failing eyes would not permit her to read, but 
which she evidently knew by heart, I felt persuaded that the falter- 
ing voice of that poor woman arose to heaven far before the responses 
of the clerk, the swell of the organ, or the chanting of the choir. 

I am fond of loitering about country churches ; and this was 
so delightfully situated, that it frequently attracted me. It 
stood on a knoll, round which a small stream made a beautiful 
bend, and then wound its way through a long reach of soft 
meadow scenery. The church was surrounded by yew trees, 
which seemed almost coeval with itself. Its tall Gothic spire 
shot up lightly from among them, with rooks and crows gener- 
ally wheeling about it. I was seated there one still sunny 
morning, watching two laborers who were digging a grave. 
They had chosen one of the most remote and neglected corners 
of the churchyard, where, from the number of nameless graves 
around, it would appear that the indigent and friendless were 
huddled into the earth. I was .told that the new-made grave 
was for the only son of a poor widow. While I was meditating 
on the distinctions of worldly rank, which extend thus down 
into the very dust, the toll of the bell announced the approach 
of the funeral. They were the obsequies of poverty, with which 
pride had nothing to do. A coffin of the plainest materials, 
without pall or other covering, was borne by some of the vil- 
lagers. The sexton walked before with an air of cold indiffer- 
ence. There were no mock mourners in the trappings of affected 
woe, but there was one real mourner who feebly tottered after 


the corpse. It was the aged mother of the deceased the poor 
old woman whom I had seen seated on the steps of the altar. 
She was supported by an humble friend, who was endeavoring 
to comfort her. A few of the neighboring poor had joined the 
train, and some children of the village were running hand in 
hand, now shouting with unthinking mirth, and now pausing to 
gaze, with childish curiosity, on the grief of the mourner. 

As the funeral train approached the grave, the parson issued 
^from the church porch, arrayed in the surplice, with prayer- 
; book in hand, and attended by the clerk. The service, how- 
ever, was a mere act of charity. The deceased had been desti- 
! tute, and the survivor was penniless. It was shuffled through, 
therefore, in form, but coldly and unfeelingly. The well-fed 
priest moved but a few steps from the church door ; his voice 
could scarcely be heard at the grave ; and never did I hear the 
funeral service, that sublime and touching ceremony, turned 
into such a frigid mummer^v of words. 

I approached the grave. The coffin was placed on the 
ground. On it were inscribed the name and age of the 
deceased "George Somers, aged 26 years." The poor 
mother had been assisted to kneel down at the head of it. Her 
withered hands were clasped, as if in prayer ; but I could per- 
ceive, by a feeble rocking of the body, and a convulsive motion 
of the lips, that she was gazing on the last relics of her son 
with the yearnings of a mother's heart. 

Preparations were made to deposit the coffin in the earth. 
There was that bustling stir, which breaks so harshly on the 
feelings of grief and affection : directions given in the cold 
tones of business ; the striking of spades into sand and gravel ; 
which, at the grave of those we love, is of all sounds the most 
withering. The bustle around seemed to waken the mother from 
a wretched reverie. She raised her glazed eyes, and looked 
about with a faint wildness. As the men approached with cords 
to lower the coffin into the grave, she wrung her hands, and 
broke into an agony of grief. The poor woman who attended 
her, took her by the arm, endeavoring to raise her from the earth, 
and to whisper something like consolation " Nay, now nay, 
now don't take it so sorely to heart." She could only shake 
her head, and wring her hands, as one not to be comforted. 

As they lowered the body into the earth, the creaking of the 
cords seemed to agonize her ; but when, on some accidental 
obstruction, there was a jostling of the coffin, all the tenderness 
of the mother burst forth ; as if any harm could come to him 
who was far beyond the reach of worldly suffering. 


I could see no more my heart swelled into my throat my 
eyes filled with tears I felt as if I were acting a barbarous 
part in standing b}' and gazing idly on this scene of maternal 
anguish. I wandered to another part of the churchyard, where 
I remained until the funeral train had dispersed. 

When I saw the mother slowly and painfully quitting the 
grave, leaving behind her the remains of all that was dear to 
her on earth, and returning to silence and destitution, my heart 
ached for her. What, thought I, are the distresses of the rich? 
They have friends to soothe pleasures to beguile a world 
to divert and dissipate their griefs. What are the sorrows of 
the young? Their growing minds soon close above the wound 

their elastic spirits soon rise beneath the pressure their 
green and ductile affections soon twine around new objects. 
But the sorrows of the poor, who have no outward appliances 
to soothe the sorrows of the aged, with whom life at best is 
but a wintry day, and who can look for no aftergrowth of joy 

the sorrows of a widow, aged, solitary, destitute, mourning 
over an only son the last solace of her years ; these are : 
indeed sorrows which make us feel the impotency of consolation. 

It was some time before I left the churchyard. On my way 
homeward, I met with the woman who had acted as comforter: 
she was just returning from accompanying the mother to her 
lonely habitation, and I drew from her some particulars con- 
nected with the affecting scene I had witnessed. 

The parents of the deceased had resided in the village from 
childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottages, 
and by various rural occupations, and the assistance of a small 
garden, had supported themselves creditably and comfortably, 
and led a happy and a blameless life. They had one son, who 
had grown up to be the staff and pride of their age. "Oh, 
sir!" said the good woman, "he was such a comely lad, so 
sweet-tempered, so kind to every one around him, so dutiful to 
his parents ! It did one's heart good to see him of a Sunday, 
drest out in his best, so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting 
his old mother to church for she was always fonder of leaning 
on George's arm than on her good man's ; and, poor soul, she 
might well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not in the 
country round." 

Unfortunately, the son was tempted, during a year of scarcity 
and agricultural hardship, to enter into the service of one of. 
the small craft that plied on a neighboring river. He had not 
been long in this employ, when he was entrapped by a press- 
gang, and carried off to sea. His parents received tidings of 


his seizure, but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was 
the loss of their main prop. The father, who was already 
infirm, grew heartless and melancholy, and sunk into his grave. 
The widow, left lonely in her age and feebleness, could no 
longer support herself, and came upon the parish. Still there 
was a kind of feeling toward her throughout the village, and a 
certain respect as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no 
one applied for the cottage in which she had passed so many 
happy days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she lived 
solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of nature were 
chiefly supplied from the scanty productions of her little gar- 
den, which the neighbors would now and then cultivate for her. 
It was but a few days before the time at which these circum- 
stances were told me, that she was gathering some vegetables 
for her repast, when she heard the cottage-door which faced the 
garden suddenly opened. A stranger came out, and seemed to 
be looking eagerly and wildly around. He was dressed in sea- 
men's clothes, was emaciated and ghastly pale, and bore the 
air of one broken by sickness and hardships. He saw her, and 
hastened toward her, but his steps were faint and faltering ; he 
sank on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. The 
poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering eye 
" Oh my dear, dear mother ! don't you know your son? your 
poor boy George?" It was, indeed, the wreck of her once 
noble lad ; who, shattered by wounds, by sickness, and foreign 
imprisonment, had, at length, dragged his wasted limbs home- 
ward, to repose among the scenes of his childhood. 

I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting, 
where joy and sorrow were so completely blended : still he was 
alive ! he was come home ! he might yet live to comfort 
and cherish her old age ! Nature, however, was exhausted in 
him ; and if anything had been wanting to finish the work of 
fate, the desolation of his native cottage would have been suf- 
ficient. He stretched himself on the pallet on which his wid 
owed mother had passed many a sleepless night, and he never 
rose from it again. 

The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had re- 
turned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort and assist- 
ance that their humble means afforded. He was too weak, 
however, to talk he could only look his thanks. His mother 
was his constant attendant ; and he seemed unwilling to be 
helped by any other hand. 

There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of 
manhood ; that softens the heart, and brings it back to the feel- 


ings of infancy. Who that has languished, even in advanced 
life, in sickness and despondency ; who that has pined on a 
weary bed in the neglect and loneliness of a foreign land ; but 
has thought on the mother " that looked on his childhood," that 
smoothed his pillow, and administered to his helplessness ? Oh ! 
there is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a 
son, that transcends all other affections of the heart. It is 
neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor 
weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She 
will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience ; she will surrren- 
der every pleasure to his enjoyment ; she will glory in his fame, 
and exult in his prosperity ; and, if misfortune overtake him, 
he will be the dearer to her from misfortune ; and if disgrace 
settle upon his name, she will still love and cherish him in spite 
of his disgrace ; and if all the world beside cast him off, she 
will be all the world to him. 

Poor George Somers had known what it was to be in sick- 
ness, and none to soothe lonely and in prison, and none to 
visit him. He could not endure his mother from his sight ; if 
she moved away, his eye would follow her. She would sit for 
hours by his bed, watching him as he slept. Sometimes he 
would start from a feverish dream, and look anxiously up until 
he saw her bending over him, when he would take her hand, lay 
it on his bosom, and fall asleep with the tranquillity of a child. 
In this way he died. 

My first impulse, on hearing this humble tale of affliction, was 
to visit the cottage of the mourner, and administer pecuniary 
assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found, however, on 
inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers had prompted 
them to do every thing that the case admitted ; and as the poor 
know best how to console each other's sorrows, I did not ven- 
ture to intrude. 

The next Sunday I was at the village church ; when, to my 
surprise, I saw the poor old woman tottering down the aisle to 
her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar. 

She. had made an effort to put on something like mourning 
for her son; and nothing could be more touching than this 
struggle between pious affection and utter poverty: a black 
ribbon or so a faded black handkerchief and one or two 
more such humble attempts to express by outward signs that 
grief which passes show. When I looked round upon the 
storied monuments, the stately hatchments, the cold marble 
pomp, with which grandeur mourned magnificently over de- 
parted pride, and turned to this poor widow, bowed down Dy 


age and sorrow at the altar of her God, and offering up the 
prayers and praises of a pious, though a broken heart, I felt 
that this living monument of real grief was worth them all. 

I related her story to some of the wealthy members of the 
congregation, and they were moved by it. They exerted them- 
selves to render her situation more comfortable, and to lighten 
her afflictions. It was, however, but smoothing a few steps to 
the grave. In the course of a Sunday or two after, she was 
missed from her usual seat at church, and before I left the 
neighborhood, I heard, with a feeling of satisfaction, that she 
had quietly breathed her last, and had gone to rejoin those she 
loved, in that world where sorrow is never known, and friends 
are never parted. 



" A tavern is the rendezvous, the exchange, the staple of good fellows. I have heard 
ray great-grandfather tell, how his great-great-grandfather should say, that it was an old 
proverb when his great-grandfather was a child, that ' it was a good wind that blew a 
man to the wine.' " MOTHER BOMBIE. 

IT is a pious custom, in some Catholic countries, to honor the 
memory of saints by votive lights burnt before their pictures. 
The popularity of a saint, therefore, may be known by the 
number of these offerings. One, perhaps, is left to moulder in 
the darkness of his little chapel ; another may have a solitary 
lamp to throw its blinking rays athwart his effigy ; while the 
whole blaze of adoration is lavished at the shrine of some beati- 
fied father of renown. The wealthy devotee brings his huge 
luminary of wax ; the eager zealot, his seven-branched candle- 
stick ; and even the mendicant pilgrim is by no means satisfied 
that sufficient light is thrown upon the deceased, unless he hangs 
up his little lamp of smoking oil. The consequence is, that in the 
eagerness to enlighten, they are often apt to obscure ; and I 
have occasionally seen an unlucky saint almost smoked out of 
countenance by the officiousness of his followers. 

In like manner has it fared with the immortal Shakspeare. 
Ever}* writer considers it his bounden duty, to light up some 
portion of his character or works, and to rescue some merit 
from oblivion. The commentator, opulent in words, produces 
vast tomes of dissertations ; the common herd of editors send 


up mists of obscurity from their notes at the bottom of each 
page ; and every casual scribbler brings his farthing rush-light 
of eulogy or research, to swell the cloud of incense and of 

As I honor all established usages of my brethren of the quill, 
I thought it but proper to contribute my mite of homage to the 
memory of the illustrious bard. I was for some time, however, 
sorely puzzled in what way I should discharge this duty. I 
found myself anticipated in every attempt at a new reading ; 
every doubtful line had been explained a dozen different ways, 
and perplexed beyond the reach of elucidation ; and as to fine 
passages they had all been amply praised by previous admirers : 
nay, so completely had the bard, of late, been overlarded with 
panegyric by a great German critic, that it was difficult now to 
find even a fault that had not been argued- into a beauty. 

In this perplexity, I was one morning turning over his pages, 
when I casually opened upon the comic scenes of Henry IV., 
and was, in a moment, completely lost in the madcap revelry 
of the Boar's Head Tavern. So vividly and naturally are these 
scenes of humor depicted, and with such force and consistency 
are the characters sustained, that they become mingled up in 
the mind with the facts and personages of real life. To few 
readers does it occur, that these are all ideal creations of a 
poet's brain, and that, in sober truth, no such knot of merry 
roysters ever enlivened the dull neighborhood of Eastcheap. 

For my part, I love to give myself up to the illusions of 
poetry. A hero of fiction that never existed, is just as valuable 
to me as a hero of history that existed a thousand years since ; 
and, if I may be excused such an insensibility to the common 
ties of human nature, I would not give up fat Jack for half the 
great men of ancient chronicle. What have the heroes of yore 
done for me, or men like me? They have conquered countries 
of which I do not enjoy an acre ; or they have gained laurels of 
which I do not inherit a leaf ; or they have furnished examples 
of hare-brained prowess, which I have neither the opportunity 
nor the inclination to follow. But old Jack Falstaff ! kind 
Jack Falstaff ! sweet Jack Falstaff ! has enlarged the bound- 
aries of human enjoyment ; he has added vast regions of wit 
and good-humor, in which the poorest man may revel ; and has 
bequeathed a never-failing inheritance of jolly laughter, to make 
mankind merrier and better to the latest posterity. 

A thought suddenly struck me : "I will make a pilgrimage 
to Eastcheap," said I, closing the book, " and see if the old 
Boar's Head Tavern still exists. Who knows but I may light 


upon some legendary traces of Dame Quickly and her guests ; 
at any rate, there will be a kindred pleasure, in treading the 
halls once vocal with their mirth, to that the toper enjoys in 
smelling to the empty cask, once filled with generous wine." 

The resolution was no sooner formed than put in execution. 
I forbear to treat of the various adventures and wonders I en- 
countered in my travels, of the haunted regions of Cock-lane ; 
of the faded glories of Little Britain, and the parts adjacent ; 
what perils I ran in Cateaton-street and Old Jewry ; of the 
renowned Guildhall and its two stunted giants, the pride and 
wonder of the city, and the terror of all unlucky urchins ; and 
how I visited London Stone, and struck my staff upon it, in 
imitation of that arch-rebel, Jack Cade. 

Let it suffice to say, that I at length arrived in merry East- 
cheap, that ancient region of wit and wassail, where the very 
names of the streets relished of good cheer, as Pudding-lane 
bears testimony even at the present day. For Eastcheap, says 
old Sto we, " was always famous for its convivial doings. The 
cookes cried hot ribbes of beef roasted, pies well baked, and 
other victuals ; there was clattering of pewter pots, harpe, pipe, 
and sawtrie." Alas ! how sadly is the scene changed since the 
roaring days of Falstaff and old Stowe ! The madcap royster 
has given place to the plodding tradesman ; the clattering of 
pots and the sound of " harpe and sawtrie," to the din of carts 
and the accursed dinging of the dustman's bell ; and no song is 
heard, save, haply, the strain of some siren from Billingsgate, 
chanting the eulogy of deceased mackerel. 

I sought, in vain, for the ancient abode of Dame Quickly. 
The only relic of it is a boar's head, carved in relief in stone, 
which formerly served as the sign, but, at present, is built into 
the parting line of two houses which stand on the site of the 
renowned old tavern. 

For the history of this little abode of good fellowship, I was 
referred to a tallow-chandler's widow, opposite, who had been 
born and brought up on the spot, and was looked up to, as the 
indisputable chronicler of the neighborhood. I found her seated 
in a little back parlor, the window of which looked out upon a 
yard about eight feet square, laid out as a flower-garden ; while 
a glass door opposite afforded a distant peep of the street, 
through a vista of soap and tallow candles ; the two views, 
which comprised, in all probability, her prospects in life, and 
the little world in which she had lived, and moved, and had her 
being, for the better part of a century. 

To be versed in the history of Eastcheap, great and little, 


from London Stone even unto the Monument, was, doubtless, 
in her opinion, to be acquainted wiMi the history of the uni- 
verse. Yet, with all this, she possessed the simplicity of true 
wisdom, and that liberal, communicative disposition, which I 
have generally remarked in intelligent old ladies, knowing in 
the concerns of their neighborhood. 

Her information, however, did not extend far back into 
antiquity. She could throw no light upon the history of the 
Boar's Head, from the time that Dame Quickly espoused the 
valiant Pistol, until the great fire of London, when it was un- 
fortunately burnt down. It was soon rebuilt, and continued to 
flourish under the old name and sign, until a dying landlord, 
struck with remorse for double scores, bad measures, and other 
iniquities which are incident to the sinful race of publicans, 
endeavored to make his peace with Heaven, by bequeathing the 
tavern to St. Michael's church, Crooked-lane, toward the sup- 
porting of a chaplain. For some time the vestry meetings were 
regularly held there ; but it was observed that the old Boar 
never held up his head under church government. He gradu- 
ally declined, and finally gave his last gasp about thirty years 
since. The tavern was then turned into shops ; but she in- 
formed me that a picture of it was still preserved in St. Michael's 
church, which stood just in the rear. To get a sight of this 
picture was now nry determination ; so, having informed myself 
of the abode of the sexton, I took my leave of the venerable 
chronicler of Eastcheap, my visit having doubtless raised greatly 
her opinion of her legendary lore, and furnished an important 
incident in the history of her life. 

It cost me some difficulty and much curious inquiry, to 
ferret out the humble hanger-on to the church. I had to 
explore Crooked-lane, and divers little alleys, and elbows, and 
dark passages, with which this old city is perforated, like an 
ancient cheese, or a worm-eaten chest of drawers. At length 
I traced him to a corner of a small court, surrounded by lofty 
houses, where the inhabitants enjoy about as much of the face 
of heaven as a community of frogs at the bottom of a well. 
The sexton was a meek, acquiescing little man, of a bowing, 
lowly habit ; yet he had a pleasant twinkling in his eye, and if 
encouraged, would now and then hazard a small pleasantry ; 
such as a man of his low estate might venture to make in the 
company of high church wardens, and other mighty men of 
the earth. I found him in company with the deputy organist, 
seated apart, like Milton's angels ; discoursing, no doubt, on 
high doctrinal points, and settling the affairs of the church 


over a friendly pot of ale ; for the lower classes of English 
seldom deliberate on an}' weighty matter without the assist- 
ance of a cool tankard to clear their understandings. I arrived 
at the moment when they had finished their ale and their argu- 
ment, and were about to repair to the church to put il^in order ; 
so, having made known my wishes, I received their gracious 
permission to accompany them. 

The church of St. Michael's, Crooked-lane, standing a short 
distance from Billingsgate, is enriched with the tombs of many 
fishmongers of renown ; and as every profession has its galaxy 
of glory, and its constellation of great men, I presume the 
monument of a mighty fishmonger of the olden time is re- 
garded with as much reverence by succeeding generations of 
the craft, as poets feel on contemplating the tomb of Virgil, 
or soldiers the monument of a Marlborough or Turenne. 

I cannot but turn aside, while thus speaking of illustrious 
men, to observe that St. Michael's, Crooked-lane, contains 
also the ashes of that doughty champion, William Walworth, 
Knight, who so manfully clove down the sturdy wight, Wat 
Tyler, in Smithfield ; a hero worthy of honorable blazon, as 
almost the only Lord Mayor on record famous for deeds of 
arms ; the sovereigns of Cockney being generally renowned as 
the most pacific of all potentates. 1 

Adjoining the church, in a small cemetery, immediately 
under the back window of what was once the Boar's Head, 
stands the tombstone of Robert Preston, whilom drawer 'at the 
tavern. It is now nearly a century since this trusty drawer 
of good liquor closed his bustling career, and was thus quietly 
deposited within call of his customers. As I was clearing away 

1 The following was the ancient inscription on the monument of this worthy, 
n'hich, unhappily, was destroyed in the great conflagration. 

Hereunder lyth a man of fame, 
William Walworth callyvd by name; 
Fishmonger he was in lyfftime here, 
And twise Lord Maior, as in books appeare; 
Who, with courage stout and manly myght, 
Slew Jack Straw in Kyng Richard's sight, 
For which act done, and trew entent, 
The Kyng made him Knyght incontinent; 
And gave him armes, as here you see, 
To declare his fact and chivaldrie : 
He left this lyff the yere of our God 
Thirteen hundred fourscore and three odd. 

An error in the foregoing inscription has been corrected by the venerable Stowe : 
" Whereas," saith he, " it hath been far spread abroad by vulgar opinion, that the 
rebel smitten down so manfully by Sir William Walworth, the then worthy Lord 
Maior, was named Jack Straw, and not Wat Tyler, I thought good to reconcile this 
rash conceived doubt by such testimony as I find in ancient and good records. The 
principal leaders, or captains of the commons, were Wat Tyler, as the first matt; 
the second was John, or Jack, Straw, etc., etc." STOWK'S London. 


the weeds from his epitaph, the little sexton drew me on one 
side with a mysterious air, and informed me, in a low voice, 
that once upon a time, on a dark wintry night, when the wind 
was unruly, howling and whistling, banging about doors and 
windows, and twirling weathercocks, so that the living were 
frightened out of their beds, and even the dead could not sleep 
quietly in their graves, the ghost of honest Preston, which hap- 
pened to be airing itself in the churchyard, was attracted by 
the well-known call of u waiter," from the Boar's Head, and 
made its sudden appearance in the midst of a roaring club, 
just as the parish clerk was singing a stave from the " mirre 
garland of Captain Death ; " to the discomfiture of sundry train- 
band captains, and the conversion of an infidel attorney, who 
became a zealous Christian on the spot, and was never known 
to twist the truth afterwards, except in the way of business. 

I beg it may be remembered, that I do not pledge myself for 
the authenticity of this anecdote ; though it is well known that 
the churchyards and by-corners of this old metropolis are very 
much infested with perturbed spirits ; and every one must have 
heard of the Cock-lane ghost, and the apparition that guards 
the regalia in the Tower, which has frightened so many bold 
sentinels almost out of their wits. 

Be all this as it may, this Robert Preston seems to have 
been a worthy successor to the nimble-tongued Francis, who 
attended upon the revels of Prince Hal ; to have been equally 
prompt with his "anon, anon, sir," and to have transcended 
his predecessor in honesty ; for Falstaff, the veracit}' of whose 
taste no man will venture to impeach, flatly accuses Francis 
of putting lime in his sack ; whereas, honest Preston's epitaph 
lauds him for the sobriety of his conduct, the soundness of his 
wine, and the fairness of his measure. 1 The worthy dignitaries 
of the church, however, did not appear much captivated by 
the sober virtues of the tapster : the deputy organist, who had 
a moist look out of the eye, made some shrewd remark on the 

1 As this inscription is rife with excellent morality, I transcribe it for the admo- 
nition of delinquent tapsters. It is, no doubt, the production of some choice spirit 
who once frequented the Boar's Head. 

Bacchus, to give the toping -world surprise, 
Produced one sober son, and here he lies. 
Though rear'd among full hogsheads, he defied 
The charms of wine, and every one beside. 
O reader, if to justice thou 'rt inclined, 
Keep honest Preston daily in thy mind. 
He drew good wine, took care to fill his pots, 
Had sundry virtues that excused his faults. 
You that on Bacchus have the like dependence, 
Pray copy Bob, in measure and attendance. 


abstemiousness of a man brought up among full hogsheads ; 
and the little sexton corroborated his opinion by a significant 
wink, and a dubious shake of the head. 

Thus far my researches, though they threw much light on 
the history of tapsters, fishmongers, and Lord Mayors, yet dis- 
appointed me in the great object of my quest, the picture of the 
Boar's Head Tavern. No such painting was to be found in the 
church of St. Michael's. "Marry and amen! " said I, "here 
endeth my research!" So I was giving the matter up, with 
the air of a baffled antiquary, when my friend the sexton, per- 
ceiving me to be curious in eVery thing relative to the old tav- 
ern, offered to show me the choice vessels of the vestry, which 
had been handed down from remote times, when the parish 
meetings were held at the Boar's Head. These were deposited 
in the parish club-room, which had been transferred, on the 
decline of the ancient establishment, to a tavern in the neigh- 

A few steps brought us to the house, which stands No. 12, 
Miles-lane, bearing the title of The Mason's Arms, and is kept by 
Master Edward Honey ball, the "bully-rook" of the establish- 
ment. It is one of those little taverns, which abound in the 
heart of the city, and form the centre of gossip and intelligence 
of the neighborhood. We entered the bar-room, which was 
narrow and darkling ; for in these close lanes but few rays of 
reflected light are enabled to struggle down to the inhabitants, 
whose broad day is at best but a tolerable twilight. The room 
was partitioned into boxes, each containing a table spread with 
a clean white cloth, ready for dinner. This showed that the 
guests were of the good old stamp, and divided their day 
equally, for it was but just one o'clock. At the lower end of 
the room was a clear coal fire, before which a breast of lamb 
was roasting. A row of bright brass candlesticks and pewter 
mugs glistened along the mantelpiece, and an old-fashioned clock 
ticked in one corner. There was something primitive in this 
medley of kitchen, parlor, and hall, that carried me back to 
earlier times, and pleased me. The place, indeed, was humble, 
but every thing had that look of order and neatness which be- 
speaks the superintendence of a notable English housewife. A 
group of amphibious-looking beings, who might be either fish- 
ermen or sailors, were regaling themselves in one of the boxes. 
As I was a visitor of rather higher pretensions, I was ushered 
into a little misshapen back room, having at least nine corners. 
It was lighted by a skylight, furnished with antiquated leathern 
chairs, and ornamented with the portrait of a fat pig. It was 


evidently appropriated to particular customers, and I found a 
shabby gentleman, in a red nose, and oil-cloth hat, seated in 
one corner, meditating on a half -empty pot of porter. 

The old sexton had taken the landlady aside, and with an air 
of profound importance imparted to her my errand. Dame 
Honeyball was a likely, plump, bustling little woman, and no 
bad substitute for that paragon of hostesses, Dame Quickly. 
She seemed delighted with an opportunity to oblige ; and hurry- 
ing up stairs to the archives of her house, where the precious 
vessels of the parish club were deposited, she returned, smiling 
and courtesy ing with them in her bands. 

The first she presented me was a japanned iron tobacco-box, 
of gigantic size, out of which, I was told, the vestry had smoked 
at their stated meetings, since time immemorial ; and which 
was never suffered to be profaned by vulgar hands, or used on 
common occasions. I received it with becoming reverence ; 
but what was my delight, at beholding on its cover the identical 
painting of which I was in quest ! There was displayed the 
outside of the Boar's Head Tavern, and before the door was to 
be seen the whole convivial -group, at table, in full revel, pic- 
tured with that wonderful fidelity and force, with which the 
portraits of renowned generals and commodores are illustrated 
on tobacco boxes, for the benefit of posterity. Lest, however, 
there should be any mistake, the cunning limner had warily 
inscribed the names of Prince Hal and Falstaff on the bottoms 
of their chairs. 

On the inside of the cover was an inscription, nearly obliter- 
ated, recording that this box was the gift of Sir Richard Gore, 
for the use of the vestry meetings at the Boar's Head Tavern, 
and that it was " repaired and beautified by his successor, Mr. 
John Packard, 1767." Such is a faithful description of this 
august and venerable relic, and I question whether the learned 
Scriblerius contemplated his Roman shield, or the Knights of 
the Round Table the long-sought sangreal with more exultation. 

While I was meditating on it with enraptured gaze, Dame 
Honeyball, who was highly gratified by the interest it excited, 
put in my hands a drinking cup or goblet, which also belonged 
to the vestry, and was descended from the old Boar's Head. It 
bore the inscription of having been the gift of Francis Wythers, 
Knight, and was held, she told me, in exceeding great value, 
being considered very "antyke." This last opinion was 
strengthened by the shabby gentleman with the red nose, and 
oil-cloth hat, and whom I strongly suspected of being a lineal 
descendant from the valiant Bardolph. He suddenly roused 


from his meditation on the pot of porter, and casting a knowing 
look at the goblet, exclaimed, "Ay, ay, the head don't ache 
now that made that there article." 

The great importance attached to this memento of ancient 
revelry by modern churchwardens, at first puzzled me ; but 
there is nothing sharpens the apprehensions so much as anti- 
quarian research ; for I immediate!}' perceived that this could 
be no other than the identical ' ' parcel-gilt goblet ' ' on which 
Falstaff made his loving, but faithless vow to Dame Quickly ; 
and which would, of course, be treasured up with care among 
the regalia of her domains, as a testimony of that solemn con- 
tract. 1 

Mine hostess, indeed, gave me a long history how the goblet 
had been handed down from generation to generation. She also 
entertained me with many particulars concerning the worthy 
vestrymen who have seated themselves thus quietly on the 
stools of the ancient roysters of Eastcheap, and, like so many 
commentators, utter clouds of smoke in honor of Shakspeare. 
These I forbear to relate, lest my readers should not be as 
curious in these matters as myself. Suffice it to say, the neigh- 
bors, one and all, about Eastcheap, believe that Falstaff and 
his merry crew actually lived and revelled there. Nay, there 
are several legendary anecdotes concerning him still extant 
among the oldest frequenters of the Mason's Arms, which they 
give as transmitted down from their forefathers ; and Mr. 
M'Kash, an Irish hair-dresser, whose shop stands on the site 
of the old Boar's Head, has several dry jokes of Fat Jack's not 
laid down in the books, with which he makes his customers 
ready to die of laughter. 

I now turned to my friend the sexton to make some further 
inquiries, but I found him sunk in pensive meditation. His 
head had declined a little on one side ; a deep sigh heaved from 
the very bottom of his stomach, and, though I could not see a 
tear trembling in his eye, yet a moisture was evidently steal- 
ing from a corner of his mouth. I followed the direction of 
his eye through the door which stood open, and found it fixed 
wistfully on the savory breast of lamb, roasting in dripping 
richness before the fire. 

I now called to mind, that in the eagerness of my recondite 
investigation, I was keeping the poor man from his dinner. 

1 Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin-chamber, at 
the round table, by a sea-coal fire, on Wednesday in Whitsun-week, when the Prince 
broke thy head for likening his father to a singing-man at Windsor; thou didst ewear to 
me then, as 1 was washing thy wound, to marry me, and make me my Jady thy wife. 
Canst thou deny it? Henry IV. part 2. 


My bowels yearned with sympathy, and putting in his hand 
a small token of my gratitude and good-will, I departed with a 
hearty benediction on him, Dame Honeyball, and the parish 
club of Crooked-lane not forgetting my shabby, but senten- 
tious friend, in the oil-cloth hat and copper nose. 

Thus have I given a " tedious brief " account of this interest- 
ing research ; for which, if it prove too short and unsatisfactory, 
I can only plead my inexperience in this branch of literature, 
so deservedly popular at the present day. I am aware that a 
more skilful illustrator of the immortal bard would have swelled 
the materials I have touched upon, to a good merchantable bulk, 
comprising the biographies of William Walworth, Jack Straw, 
and Robert Preston*; some notice of the eminent fishmongers 
of St. Michael's ; the history of Eastcheap, great and little ; 
private anecdotes of Dame Honeyball and her pretty daughter, 
whom I have not even mentioned : to say nothing of a damsel 
tending the breast of lamb, (and whom, by the way, I remarked 
to be a comely lass, with a neat foot and ankle;) the whole 
enlivened by the riots of Wat Tyler, and illuminated by the 
great fire of London. 

All this I leave as a rich mine, to be worked by future com- 
mentators ; nor do I despair of seeing the tobacco-box, and 
the "parcel-gilt goblet," which I have thus brought to light, 
the subjects of future engravings, and almost as fruitful of 
voluminous dissertations and disputes as the shield of Achilles, 
or the far-famed Portland vase. 



I know that all beneath the moon decays, 
And what by mortals in this world is brought, 
In time's great period shall return to nought. 

I know that all the muses' heavenly lays, 
"With toil of sprite which are so dearly bought, 
As idle sounds, of few or none are sought, 

That there is nothing lighter than mere praise. 


THERE are certain half dreaming moods of mind, in which 
we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and seek some 
quiet haunt, where we may indulge our reveries, and build our 


air castles undisturbed. In such a mood, I was loitering about 
the old gray cloisters of Westminster Abbey, enjoying that 
luxury of wandering thought which one is apt to dignify with 
the name of reflection ; when suddenly an irruption of mad- 
cap boys from Westminster school, playing at foot-ball, broke 
in upon the monastic stillness of the place, making the vaulted 
passages and mouldering tombs echo with their merriment. I 
sought to take refuge from their noise by penetrating still 
deeper into the solitudes of the pile, and applied to one of 
the vergers for admission to the library. He conducted me 
through a portal, rich with the crumbling sculpture of former 
ages, which opened upon a gloomy passage leading to the 
Chapter-house, and the chamber in which Doomsday Book 
is deposited. Just within the passage is a small door on the 
left. To this the verger applied a key ; it was double locked, 
and opened with some difficulty, as if seldom used. We now 
ascended a dark narrow staircase, and passing through a sec- 
ond door, entered the library. 

I found nryself in a lofty antique hall, the roof supported 
by massive joists of old English oak. It was soberly lighted lay 
a row of Gothic windows at a considerable height from the 
floor, and which apparently opened upon the roofs of the clois- 
ters. An ancient picture of some reverend dignitary of the 
church in his robes hung over the fireplace. Around the hall 
and in a small gallery were the books, arranged in carved 
oaken cases. They consisted principally of old polemical 
writers, and were much more worn by time than use. In the 
centre of the library was a solitary table, with two or three 
books on it, an inkstand without ink, and a few pens parched 
by long disuse. The place seemed fitted for quiet study and 
profound meditation. It was buried deep among the massive 
walls of the abbey, and shut up from the tumult of the world. 
I could only hear now and then the shouts of the schoolboys 
faintly swelling from the cloisters, and the sound of a bell toll- 
ing for prayers, echoing soberly along the roofs of the abbey. 
By degrees the shouts of merriment grew fainter and fainter, 
and at length died away. The bell ceased to toll, and a pro- 
found silence reigned through the dusky hall. 

I had taken down a little thick quarto, curiously bound in 
parchment, with brass clasps, and seated myself at the table in 
a venerable elbow chair. Instead of reading, however, I was 
beguiled by the solemn monastic air and lifeless quiet of the 
place, into a train of musing. As I looked around upon the old 
volumes in their mouldering covers, thus ranged on the shelves. 


and apparently never disturbed in their repose, I could not but 
consider the library a kind of literary catacomb, where authors, 
like mummies, are piously entombed, and left to blacken and 
moulder in dusty oblivion. 

How much, thought I, has each of these volumes, now thrust 
aside with such indifference, cost some aching head how 
many weary days ! how many sleepless nights ! How have 
their authors buried themselves in the solitude of cells and 
cloisters ; shut themselves up from the face of man, and the 
still more blessed face of nature ; and devoted themselves to 
painful research and intense reflection ! And all for what? to 
occupy an inch of dusty shelf to have the title of their 
works read now and then in a future age, by some drowsy 
churchman, or casual straggler like myself ; and in Another age 
to be lost even to remembrance. Such is the amount of this 
boasted immortality. A mere temporary rumor, a local sound ; 
like the tone of that bell which has just tolled among these 
towers, filling the ear for a moment lingering transiently in 
echo and then passing away, like a thing that was not ! 

While I sat half -murmuring, half- meditating these unprofita- 
ble speculations, with my head resting on my hand, I was 
thrumming with the other hand upon the quarto, until I acci- 
dentally loosened the clasps ; when, to my utter astonishment, 
the little book gave two or three yawns, like one awaking from 
a deep sleep ; then a husky hem, and at length began to talk. 
At first its voice was very hoarse and broken, being much trou- 
bled by a cobweb which some studious spider had woven across 
it ; and having probably contracted a cold from long exposure 
to the chills and damps of the abbey. In a short time, how- 
ever, it became more distinct, and I soon found it an exceed- 
ingly fluent conversable little tome. Its language, to be sure, 
was rather quaint and obsolete, and its pronunciation what in 
the present day would be deemed barbarous ; but I shall en- 
deavor, as far as I am able, to render it in modern parlance. 

It began with railings about the neglect of the world about 
merit being suffered to languish in obscurity, and other such 
commonplace topics of literary repining, and complained bitterly 
that it had not been opened for more than two centuries ; that 
the Dean only looked now and then into the library, sometimes 
took down a volume or two, trifled with them for a few moments, 
and then returned them to their shelves. 

" What a plague do they mean," said the little quarto, which 
I began to perceive was somewhat choleric, tk what a plague do 
they mean by keeping several thousand volumes of us shut up 


here, and watched by a set of old vergers, like so many beauties 
in a harem, merely to be looked at now and then by the Dean ? 
Books were written to give pleasure and to be enjoyed ; and I 
would have a rule passed that the Dean should pay each of us 
a visit at least once a year ; or if he is not equal to the task, 
let them once in a while turn loose the whole school of West- 
minster among us, that at any rate we may now and then have 
an airing. 

" Softly, my worthy friend," replied I, "you are not aware 
how much better you are off than most books of your genera- 
tion. By being stored away in this ancient library, you are like 
the treasured remains of those saints and monarchs which lie 
enshrined in the adjoining chapels ; while the remains of your 
contemporary mortals, left to the ordinary course of nature, 
have long since returned to dust." 

" Sir," said the little tome, ruffling his leaves and looking 
big, "I was written for all the world, not for the bookworms 
of an abbey. I was intended to circulate from hand to hand, 
like other great contemporary works ; but here have I been 
clasped up for more than two centuries, and might have silently 
fallen a prey to these worms that are playing the very ven- 
geance with my intestines, if you had not by chance given me 
an opportunity of uttering a few last words before I go to 

" My good friend," rejoined I, "had you been left to the 
circulation of which you speak, you would long ere this have 
been no more. To judge from your physiognomy, you are now 
well stricken in years ; very few of your contemporaries can be 
at present in existence ; and those few owe their longevity to 
being immured like yourself in old libraries ; which, suffer me 
to add, instead of likening to harems, you might more properly 
and gratefully have compared to those infirmaries attached to 
religious establishments, for the benefit of the old and decrepit, 
and where, by quiet fostering and no employment, they often 
endure to an amazingly good-for-nothing old age. You talk of 
your contemporaries as if in circulation where do we meet 
with their works? what do we hear of Robert Groteste of 
Lincoln ? No one could have toiled harder than he for immor- 
tality. He is said to have written nearl}- two hundred volumes. 
He built, as it were, a pyramid of books to perpetuate his 
name : but, alas ! the pyramid has long since fallen, and only a 
few fragments are scattered in various libraries, where they are 
scarcely disturbed even l>y the antiquarian. What do we hear 
of Giraidus Cambrensis, the historian, antiquary, philosopher. 


theologian, and poet? He declined two bishoprics, that he 
might shut himself up and write for posterity ; but posterity 
never inquires after his labors. What of Henry of Hunting- 
don, who, besides a learned history of England, wrote a treatise 
on the contempt of the world, which the world has revenged by 
forgetting him ? What is quoted of Joseph of Exeter, styled 
the miracle of his age in classical composition ? Of his three 
great heroic poems, one is lost forever, excepting a mere frag- 
ment ; the others are known only to a few of the curious in 
literature ; and as to his love verses and epigrams, they have 
entirely disappeared. What is in current use of John Wallis, 
the Franciscan, who acquired the name of the tree of life? 
of William of Malmsbury ; of Simeon of Durham ; of Benedict 
of Peterborough; of John Hauvill of St. Albans ; of " 

"Prithee, friend," cried the quarto in a testy tone, "how 
old do you think me ? You are talking of authors that lived 
long before my time, and wrote either in Latin or French, so 
that they in a manner expatriated themselves, and deserved to 
be forgotten ; 1 but I, sir, was ushered into the world from the 
press of the renowned Wynkyn de Worde. I was written in 
my own native tongue, at a time when the language had become 
fixed ; and, indeed, I was considered a model of pure and elegant 

[I should observe that these remarks were couched in such 
intolerably antiquated terms, that I have had infinite difficulty 
in rendering them into modern phraseology.] 

" I cry your mercy," said I, " for mistaking your age ; but it 
matters little ; almost all the writers of your time have likewise 
passed into forgetfulness ; and De Worde 's publications are 
mere literary rarities among book-collectors. The purity and 
stability of language, too, on which you found your claims to 
perpetuity, have been the fallacious dependence of authors of 
every age, even back to the times of the worthy Robert of 
Gloucester, who wrote his history in rhymes of mongrel Saxon. 2 
Even now, many talk of Spenser's ' well of pure English unde- 
filed,' as if the language ever sprang from a well or fountain- 

1 In Latin and French hath many soueraine wittes had great delyte to eudite, and 
have many noble things fulfilde, but certes there ben some that speaken their poisye in 
French, of which speche the Frenchmen have as good a fantasye as we have in hearing 
of Frenchmen's Englishe. CHAUCER'S Testament of Love. 

2 Holinshed, in his Chronicle, observes, "afterwards, also, by diligent travell of 
Geffry Chaucer and John Gowre, in the time of Richard the Second, and after them of 
John Scogan and John Lydgate, monke of Berrie, our said toong was brought to an 
excellent passe, notwithstanding that it never came unto the type of perfection until the 
time of Queen Elizabeth, wherein John Jewell, Bishop of Sarum, John Fox, ami sundrie 
learned and excellent writers, have fully accomplished the ornature of the same, to their 
great praise and immortal commendation." 


head, and was not rather a mere confluence of various tongues, 
perpetually subject to changes and intermixtures. It is this 
which has made English literature so extremely mutable, and 
the reputation built upon it so fleeting. Unless thought can 
be committed to something more permanent and unchangeable 
than such a medium, even thought must share the fate of every 
thing else, and fall into decay. This should serve as a check 
upon the vanity and exultation of the most popular writer. He 
finds the language in which he has embarked his fame gradually 
altering, and subject to the dilapidations of time and the caprice 
of fashion. He looks back, and beholds the early authors of 
his country, once the favorites of their day, supplanted by 
modern writers : a few short ages have covered them with ob- 
scurity, and their merits can only be relished by the quaint 
taste of the bookworm. And such, he anticipates, will be the 
fate of his own work, which, however it may be admired in its 
day, and held up as a model of purity, will, in the course of 
years, grow antiquated and obsolete, until it shall become al- 
most as unintelligible in its native land as an Egyptian obelisk, 
or one of those Runic inscriptions, said to exist in the deserts 
of Tartary. I declare," added I, with some emotion, "when 
I contemplate a modern library, filled with new works in all the 
bravery of rich gilding and binding, I feel disposed to sit down 
and weep ; like the good Xerxes, when he surveyed his army, 
pranked out in all the splendor of military array, and reflected 
that in one hundred years not one of them would be in exist- 
ence !" 

"Ah," said the little quarto, with a heavy sigh, " I see how 
it is ; these modern scribblers have superseded all the good old 
authors. I suppose nothing is read now-a-days but Sir Philip 
Sidney's Arcadia, Sackville's stately plays and Mirror for 
Magistrates, or the fine-spun euphuisms of the ' unparalleled 
John Lyly.' ' 

" There you are again mistaken," said I ; " the writers whom 
you suppose in vogue, because they happened to be so when 
you were last in circulation, have long since had their day. 
Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, the immortality of which was so 
fondly predicted by his admirers, 1 and which, in truth, was full 
of noble thoughts, delicate images, and graceful turns of lan- 

1 " Live ever sweete booke; the simple image of his gentle witt, and the golden pillar 
of his noble courage; and ever notify unto the world that thy writer was the secretary 
of eloquence, the breath of the muses, the honey bee of the daintyest flowers of witt and 
arte, the pith of morale and the intellectual virtues, the arme of Bellona in the field, the 
tongue of Suada in the chamber, the spirite of Practise in esse, and the paragon of excel- 
lency in print." HARVEY Pierce' s Supererogation. 


guage, is now scarcely ever mentioned. Sackville has strutted 
into obscurity ; and even Lyly, though his writings were once 
the delight of a court, and apparently perpetuated by a proverb, 
is now scarcely known even by name. A whole crowd of authors 
who wrote and wrangled at the time, have likewise gone down 
with all their writings and their controversies. Wave after wave 
of succeeding literature has rolled over them, until they are 
buried so deep, that it is only now and then that some industri- 
ous diver after fragments of antiquity brings up a specimen for 
the gratification of the curious. 

kt For my part," I continued, u I consider this mutability of 
language a wise precaution of Providence for the benefit of the 
world at large, and of authors in particular. To reason from 
analogy : we daily behold the varied and beautiful tribes of vege- 
tables springing up, flourishing, adorning the fields for a short 
time, and then fading into dust, to make way for their success- 
ors. Were not this the case, the fecundity of nature would be 
a grievance instead of a blessing : the earth would groan with 
rank and excessive vegetation, and its surface become a tangled 
wilderness. In like manner, the works of genius and learning 
decline and make way for subsequent productions. Language 
gradually varies, and with it fade away the writings of authors 
who have flourished their allotted time ; otherwise the creative 
powers of genius would overstock the world, and the mind 
would be completely bewildered in the endless mazes of litera- 
ture. Formerly there were some restraints on this excessive 
multiplication : works had to be transcribed by hand, which 
was a slow and laborious operation ; they were written either 
on parchment, which was expensive, so that one work was 
often erased to make way for another ; or on papyrus, which 
was fragile and extremely perishable. Authorship was a lim- 
ited and unprofitable craft, pursued chiefly by monks in the 
leisure and solitude of their cloisters. The accumulation of 
manuscripts was slow and costly, and confined almost entirely 
to monasteries. To these circumstances it may, in some meas- 
ure, be owing that we have not been inundated by the intellect 
of antiquity ; that the fountains of thoughts have not been 
broken up, and modern genius drowned in the deluge. But the 
inventions of paper and the press have put an end to all these 
restraints : they have made every one a writer, and enabled 
every mind to pour itself into print, and diffuse itself over the 
whole intellectual world. The consequences are alarming. 
The stream of literature has swollen into a torrent augmented 
into a river expanded into a sea. A few centuries since, five 


or six hundred manuscripts constituted a great library ; but 
what would you say to libraries, such as actually exist, contain- 
ing three or four hundred thousand volumes ; legions of authors 
at the same time busy ; and a press going on with fearfully in- 
creasing activity, to double and quadruple the number? Unless 
some unforeseen mortality should break out among the progeny 
of the Muse, now that she has become so prolific, I tremble for 
posterity. I fear the mere fluctuation of language will not be 
sufficient. Criticism may do much ; it increases with the in- 
crease of literature, and resembles one of those salutary checks 
on population spoken of by economists. All possible encour- 
agement, therefore, should be given to the growth of critics, 
good or bad. But I fear all will be in vain ; let criticism do 
what it may, writers will write, printers will print, and the 
world will inevitably be overstocked with good books. It will 
soon be the emplo} T ment of a lifetime merely to learn their 
names. Many a man of passable information at the present 
day reads scarcely any thing but reviews, and before long a 
man of erudition will be little better than a mere walking cata- 

" My very good sir," said the little quarto, yawning most 
drearily in my face, "excuse my interrupting you, but I per- 
ceive you are rather given to prose. I would ask the fate of 
an author who was making some noise just as I left the world. 
His reputation, however, was considered quite temporary. The 
learned shook their heads at him, for he was a poor, half-edu- 
cated varlet, that knew little of Latin, and nothing of Greek, 
and had been obliged to run the country for deer-stealing. I 
think his name was Shakspeare. I presume he soon sunk into 

"On the contrary," said I, "it is owing to that very man 
that the literature of his period has experienced a duration 
beyond the ordinary term of English literature. There rise 
authors now and then, who seem proof against the mutability 
of language, because they have rooted themselves in the un- 
changing principles of human nature. They are like gigantic 
trees that we sometimes see on the banks of a stream, which, 
by their vast and deep roots, penetrating through the mere sur- 
face, and laying hold on the very foundations of the earth, pre- 
serve the soil around them from being swept away by the over- 
flowing current, and hold up many a neighboring plant, and, 
perhaps, worthless weed, to perpetuity. Such is the case with 
Shakspeare, whom we behold defying the encroachments of 
time, retaining in modern use the language and literature of his 


day, and giving duration to many an indifferent author merely 
from having flourished in his vicinity. But even he, I grieve to 
say, is gradually assuming the tint of age, and his whole form 
is overrun by a profusion of commentators, who, like clamber- 
ing vines and creepers, almost bury the noble plant that upholds 

Here the little quarto began to heave his sides and chuckle, 
until at length he broke out into a plethoric fit of laughter that 
had well nigh choked him, by reason of his excessive corpu- 
lency. " Mighty well ! " cried he, as soon as he could recover 
breath, "mighty well! and so you would persuade me that 
the literature of an age is to be perpetuated by a vagabond 
deer-stealer ! by a man without learning! by a poet! for- 
sooth a poet!" And here he wheezed forth another fit of 

I confess that I felt somewhat nettled at this rudeness, which, 
however, I pardoned on account of his having flourished in a 
less polished age. I determined, nevertheless, not to give up 
my point. 

" Yes," resumed I positively, u a poet ; for of all writers he 
has the best chance for immortality. Others may write from 
the head, but he writes from the heart, and the heart will always 
understand him. He is the faithful portrayer of Nature, whose 
features are alwaj's the same, and always interesting. Prose 
writers are voluminous and unwieldy ; their pages are crowded 
with commonplaces, and their thoughts expanded into tedious- 
ness. But with the true poet every thing is terse, touching, 
or brilliant. He gives the choicest thoughts in the choicest lan- 
guage. He illustrates them by every thing that he sees most 
striking in nature and art. He enriches them by pictures of 
human life, such as it is passing before him. His writings, 
therefore, contain the spirit, the aroma, if I may use the 
phrase, of the age in which he lives. They are caskets which 
enclose within a small compass the wealth of the language 
its family jewels, which are thus transmitted in a portable 
form to posterity. The setting may occasionally be antiquated, 
and require now and then to be renewed, as in the case of 
Chaucer ; but the brilliancy and intrinsic value of the gems 
continue unaltered. Cast a look back over the long reach of 
literary history. What vast valleys of dulness, filled with 
monkish legends and academical controversies ! What bogs of 
theological speculations ! What dreary wastes of metaphysics ! 
Here and there only do we behold the heaven-illuminated 
bards, elevated like beacons on their widely-separate heights, to 


transmit the pure light of poetical intelligence from age to 

I was just about to launch forth into eulogiums upon the 
poets of the day, when the sudden opening of the door caused 
me to turn my head. It was the verger, who came to inform 
me that it was time to close the library. I sought to have a 
parting word with the quarto, but the worthy little tome was 
silent ; the clasps were closed ; and it looked perfectly unconscious 
of all that had passed. I have been to the library two or three 
times since, and have endeavored to draw it into further con- 
versation, but in vain : and whether all this rambling colloquy 
actually took place, or whether it was another of those odd day- 
dreams to which I am subject, I have never, to this moment, 
been able to discover. 


Here's a few flowers! but about midnight more: 
The herbs that have on them cold dew o' the night 

Are strewings fitt'st for graves 

You were as flowers now withered : even so 

These herblets shall, which we upon you strow. CYMBELINE. 

AMONG the beautiful and simple-hearted customs of rural life 
which still linger in some parts of England, are those of strew- 
ing flowers before the funerals and planting them at the graves 
of departed friends. These, it is said, are the remains of some 
of the rites of the primitive church ; but they are of still higher 
antiquity, having been observed among the Greeks and Romans, 
and frequently mentioned by their writers, and were, no doubt, 
the spontaneous tributes of unlettered affection, originating 
long before art had tasked itself to modulate sorrow into song, 
or story it on the monument. They are now only to be met 
with in the most distant and retired places of the kingdom, 
where fashion and innovation have not been able to throng in, 

1 Thorow earth, and waters deepe, 

The pen by skill doth passe : 
And featly nyps the worlds abuse, 

And shoes us in a glasse, 
The vertu and the vice 

Of every wight alyve; 
The honey combe that bee doth make, 

Is not so sweet in hyve, 
As are the golden leves 

That drops from poet's head ; 
Which doth surmount our common talke, 

As farro as dross doth lead. CHURCHYARD. 


and trample out all the curious and interesting traces of the 
olden time. 

In Glamorganshire, we are told, the bed whereon the corpse 
lies is covered with flowers, a custom alluded to in one of the 
wild and plaintive ditties of Ophelia : 

White his shroud as the mountain snow, 

Larded all with sweet flowers; 
Which be-wept to the grave did go, 

With true love showers. 

There is also a most delicate and beautiful rite observed in 
some of the remote villages of the south, at the funeral of a 
female who has died young and unmarried. A chaplet of 
white flowers is borne before the corpse by a young girl, nearest 
in age, size, and resemblance, and is afterwards hung up in 
the church over the accustomed seat of the deceased. These 
chaplets are sometimes made of white paper, in imitation of 
flowers, and inside of them is generally a pair of white gloves. 
They are intended as emblems of the purity of the deceased, 
and the crown of glory which she has received in heaven. 

In some parts of the country, also, the dead are carried to 
the grave with the singing of. psalms and hymns ; a kind of 
triumph, "to show," says Bourne, "that they have finished 
their course with joy, and are become conquerors." This, I am 
informed, is observed in some of the northern counties, par- 
ticularly in Northumberland, and it has a pleasing, though 
melancholy effect, to hear, of a still evening, in some lonely 
country scene, the mournful melody of a funeral dirge swelling 
from a distance, and to see the train slowly moving along the 

Thus, thus, and thus, we compass round 
Thy harmlesse and unhaunted ground, 
And as we sing thy dirge, we will 

The Daffodill 

And other flowers lay upon 
The altar of our love, thy stone. HEKRICK. 

There is also a solemn respect paid by the traveller to the 
passing funeral in these sequestered places ; for such spectacles, 
occurring among the quiet abodes of nature, sink deep into the 
soul. As the mourning train approaches, he pauses, uncov- 
ered, to let it go by ; he then follows silently in the rear ; some- 
times quite to the grave, at other times for a few hundred 
yards, and having paid this tribute of respect to the deceased, 
turns and resumes his journey. 


The rich vein of melancholy which runs through the English 
character, and gives it some of its most touching and ennobling 
graces, is finely evidenced in these pathetic customs, and in the 
solicitude shown by the common people for an honored and a 
peaceful grave. The humblest peasant, whatever may be his 
lowly lot while living, is anxious that some little respect may 
be paid to his remains. Sir Thomas Overbury, describing the 
" faire and happy milkmaid," observes, "thus lives she, and 
all her care is, that she may die in the spring-time, to have store 
of flowers stucke upon her winding-sheet.". The poets, too, 
who always breathe the feeling of a nation, continually advert 
to this fond solicitude about the grave. In "The Maid's 
Tragedy," by Beaumont and Fletcher, there is a beautiful in- 
stance of the kind, describing the capricious melancholy of a 
broken-hearted girl. 

When she sees a bank 

Stucfc full of flowers, she, with a sigh, will tell 
Her servants, what a pretty place it were 
To bury lovers in ; and make her maids 
Pluck 'em, and strew her over like a corse. 

The custom of decorating graves was once universally preva- 
lent ; osiers were carefully bent over them to keep the turf un- 
injured, and about them were planted evergreens and flowers. 
"We adorn their graves," says Evelyn, in his Sylva, " with 
flowers and redolent plants, just emblems of the life of man, 
which has been compared in Holy Scriptures to those fading 
beauties, whose roots being buried in dishonor, rise again in 
glory." This usage 1ms now become extremely rare in Eng- 
land ; but it may still be met with in the churchyards of re- 
tired villages, among the Welsh mountains ; and I recollect an 
instance of it at the small town of Ruthen, which lies at the 
head of the beautiful vale of Clewyd. I have been told also 
by a friend, who was present at the funeral of a young girl in 
Glamorganshire, that the female attendants had their aprons 
full of flowers, which, as soon as the body was interred, they 
stuck about the grave. 

He noticed several graves which had been decorated in the 
same manner. As. the flowers had been merely stuck in the 
ground, and not planted, they had soon withered, and might 
be seen in various states of decay ; some drooping, others quite 
perished. They were afterwards to be supplanted by holly, 
rosemary, and other evergreens ; which on some graves had 
grown to great luxuriance, and overshadowed the tombstones. 


There was formerly a melancholy fancifulness in the arrange- 
ment of these rustic offerings that had something in it truly 
poetical. The rose was sometimes blended with the lily, to 
form a general emblem of frail mortality . ' ' This sweet flower, ' ' 
said Evelyn, "borne on a branch set with thorns, and accom- 
panied with the lily, are natural hieroglyphics of our fugitive, 
umbratile, anxious, and transitory life, which, making so fair 
a show for a time, is not yet without its thorns and crosses." 
The nature and color of the flowers, and of the ribbons with 
which they were tied, had often a particular reference to the 
qualities or story of the deceased, or were expressive of the 
feelings of the mourner. In an old poem, entitled " Corydon's 
Doleful Knell," a lover specifies the decorations he intends to 

A garland shall be framed 

Bjr Art and Nature's skill, 
Of sundry -coloured flowers, 

In token of good will. 

And sundry-coloured ribands 

On ill will bestow; 
But chiefly blacke and yellowe 

With her to grave shall go. 

I'll deck her tomb with flowers 

The rarest ever seen ; 
And with my tears as showers 

I'll keep them fresh and green. 

The white rose, we are told, was planted at the grave of a 
virgin ; her chaplet was tied with whit-e ribbons, in token of 
her spotless innocence ; though sometimes black ribbons were 
intermingled, to bespeak the grief of the survivors. The red 
rose was occasionally used, in remembrance of such as had 
been remarkable for benevolence ; but roses in general were 
appropriated to the graves of lovers. Evelyn tells us that the 
custom was not altogether extinct in his time, near his dwelling 
in the county of Surrey, '-' where the maidens yearly planted 
and decked the graves of their defunct sweethearts with rose- 
bushes." And Camden likewise remarks, in his Britannia: 
" Here is also a certain custom observed time out of mind, of 
planting rose-trees upon the graves, especially by the young 
men and maids who have lost their loves ; so that this church- 
yard is now full of them." 

When the deceased had been unhappy in their loves, emblems 
of a more gloomy character were used, such as the yew and 


cj-press ; and if flowers were strewn, they were of the most 
melancholy colors. Thus, in poems by Thomas Stanley, Esq., 
(published in 1651,) is the following stanza: 

Yet strew 

Upon my dismall grave 
Such offerings as you have, 

Forsaken cypresse and sad yewe ; 
For kinder flowers can take no birth 
Or growth from such unhappy earth. 

In "The Maid's Tragedy," a pathetic little air is introduced, 
illustrative of this mode of decorating the funerals of females 
who have been disappointed in love. 

Lay a garland on my hearse 

Of the dismal yew, 
Maidens willow branches wear, 

Say I died true. 
My love was false, but I was firm, 

From my hour of birth, 
Upon my buried body lie 

Lightly, gentle earth. 

The natural effect of sorrow over the dead is to refine and 
elevate the mind ; and we have a proof of it in the purity of 
sentiment, and the unaffected elegance of thought, which per- 
vaded the whole of these funeral observances. Thus, it was 
an especial precaution, that none but sweet-scented evergreens 
and flowers should be employed. The intention seems to have 
been to soften the horrors of the tomb, to beguile the mind 
from brooding over the disgraces of perishing mortality, and 
to associate the memory of the deceased with the most delicate 
and beautiful objects in Nature. There is a dismal process 
going on in the grave, ere dust can return to its kindred dust, 
which the imagination shrinks from contemplating; and we 
seek still to think of the form we have loved, with those refined 
associations which it awakened when blooming before us in 
youth and beauty. ''Lay her i' the earth," saj's Laertes of 
his virgin sister, 

And from her fair and unpolluted flesh 
May violets spring. 

Herrick, also, in his " Dirge of Jephtha," pours forth a fra- 
grant flow of poetical thought and image, which in a manner 
embalms the dead in the recollections of the living. 


Sleep in thy peace, thy bed of spice, 

And make this place all Paradise. 

May sweets grow here : and smoke from hence 

Fat frankincense. 

Let balme and cassia send their scent 
From out thy maiden-monument ! 

May all shie maids at wonted hours 

Come forth to strew thy tombe with flowers! 

May virgins, when they come to mourn, 

Male-incense burn 
Upon thine altar, then return, 
And leave thee sleeping in thine urn ! 

I might crowd my pages with extracts from the older British 
poets, who wrote when these rites were more prevalent, and de- 
lighted frequently to allude to them ; but I have already quoted 
more than is necessary. I cannot, however, refrain from giving 
a passage from Shakspeare, even though it should appear trite, 
which illustrates the emblematical meaning often conveyed in 
these floral tributes, and at the same time possesses that magic 
of language and appositeness of imagery for which he stands 

With fairest flowers, 

Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele, 
I'll sweeten thy sad grave ; thou shall not lack 
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor 
The azured harebell like thy veins ; no, nor 
The leaf of eglantine; whom not to slander, 
Outsweetened not thy breath. 

There is certainly something more affecting in these prompt 
and spontaneous offerings of nature, than in the most costly 
monuments of art ; the hand strews the flower while the heart 
is warm, and the tear falls on the grave as affection is binding 
the osier round the sod ; but pathos expires under the slow 
labor of the chisel, and is chilled among the cold conceits of 
sculptured marble. 

It is greatly to be regretted, that a custom so truly elegant 
and touching hap disappeared from general use, and exists only 
in the most remote and insignificant villages. But it seems as 
if poetical custom always shuns the walks of cultivated societj- . 
In proportion as people grow polite, they cease to be poetical. 
They talk of poetry, but they have learnt to check its free im- 
pulses, to distrust its sallying emotions, and to supply its most 
affecting and picturesque usages, by studied form and pompous 
ceremonial. Few pageants can be more stately and frigid than 


an English funeral in town. It is made up of show and gloomy 
parade : mourning carriages, mourning horses, mourning plumes, 
and hireling mourners, who make a mockery of grief. " There 
is a grave digged," says Jeremy Taylor, " and a solemn mourn- 
ing, and a great talk in the neighbourhood, and when the daies 
are finished, they shall be, and they shall be remembered no 
more." The associate in the gay and crowded city is soon for- 
gotten ; the hurrying succession of new intimates and new 
pleasures effaces him from our minds, and the very scenes and 
circles in which he moved are incessantly fluctuating. But 
funerals in the country are solemnly impressive. The stroke of 
death makes a wider space in the village circle, and is an awful 
event in the tranquil uniformity of rural life. The passing bell 
tolls its knell in every ear ; it steals with its pervading melan- 
choly over hill and vale, and saddens all the landscape. 

The fixed and unchanging features of the country, also, per- 
petuate the memory of the friend with whom we once enjoyed 
them ; who was the companion of our most retired walks, and 
gave animation to every lonely scene. His idea is associated 
with every charm of Nature : we hear his voice in the echo 
which he once delighted to awaken ; his spirit haunts the grove 
which he once frequented ; we think of him in the wild upland 
solitude, or amidst the pensive beauty of the valley. In the 
freshness of joyous morning, we remember his beaming smiles 
and bounding gayety ; and when sober evening returns, with its 
gathering shadows and subduing quiet, we call to mind many 
a twilight hour of gentle talk and sweet-souled melancholy. 

Each lonely place shall him restore, 

For him the tear be duly shed, 
Beloved, till life can charm no more, 

And mourn'd till pity's self be dead. 

Another cause that perpetuates the memory of the deceased 
in the country, is that the grave is more immediately in sight 
of the survivors. They pass it on their way to prayer ; it meets 
their eyes when their hearts are softened by the exercises of 
devotion ; they linger about it on the Sabbath, when the mind 
is disengaged from worldly cares, and most disposed to turn 
aside from present pleasures and present loves, and to sit down 
among the solemn mementos of the past. In North Wales, 
the peasantry kneel and pray over the graves of their deceased 
friends for several Sundays after the interment ; and where 
the tender rite of strewing and planting flowers is still practised, 


it is always renewed on Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festi- 
vals, when the season brings the companion of former festivity 
more vividly to mind. It is also invariably performed by the 
nearest relatives and friends ; no menials nor hirelings are em- 
ployed, and if a neighbor yields assistance, it would be deemed 
an insult to offer compensation. 

I have dwelt upon this beautiful rural custom, because, as it 
is one of the last, so is it one of the holiest offices of love. The 
grave is the ordeal of true affection. It is there that the divine 
passion of the soul manifests its superiority to the instinctive 
impulse of mere animal attachment. The latter must be con- 
tinually refreshed and kept alive by the presence of its object ; 
but the love that is seated in the soul can live on long remem- 
brance. The mere inclinations of sense languish and decline 
with the charms which excited them, and turn with shuddering 
disgust from the dismal precincts of the tomb ; but it is thence 
that truly spiritual affection rises purified from every sensual 
desire, and returns, like a holy flame, to illumine and sanctify 
the heart of the survivor. 

The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we 
refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal 
every other affliction to forget ; but this wound we consider it 
a duty to keep open this affliction we cherish and brood over 
in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget 
the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though 
every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would 
willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember 
be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would for- 
get the friend over whom he mourns? Who, even when the 
tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved ; when 
he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its por- 
tal ; would accept of consolation that must be bought by forget- 
fulness ? No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the 
noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise 
its delights ; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed 
into the gentle tear of recollection when the sudden anguish 
and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that 
we most loved, is softened away into pensive meditation on 
all that it was in the days of its loveliness who would root 
out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes 
throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety, or spread 
a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom ; yet who would ex- 
change it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? 
No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There 


is a remembrance of the dead, to which we turn even from the 
charms of the living. Oh, the grave ! the grave ! It buries 
every error covers every defect extinguishes every resent- 
ment ! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets 
and tender recollections. Who can look down upon the grave 
even of an enemy and not feel a compunctious throb, that 
he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that 
lies mouldering before him ? 

But the grave of those we loved what a place for medita- 
tion ! There it is that we call up in long review the whole 
history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments 
lavished upon us almost unheeded in the daily intercourse of 
intimacy; there it is that we dwell upon the tenderness, the 
solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene. The bed of 
death, with all its stifled griefs its noiseless attendance its 
mute, watchful assiduities. The last testimonies of expiring 
love ! The feeble, fluttering, thrilling, oh ! how thrilling ! press- 
ure of the hand. The faint, faltering accents, struggling in death 
to give one more assurance of affection ! The last fond look of 
the glazing eye, turned upon us even from the threshold of 

Ay, go to the grave of buried love, and meditate ! There 
settle the account with thy conscience for every past benefit 
unrequited, ever}*- past endearment unregarded, of that departed 
being, who can never never never return to be soothed by 
thy contrition ! 

If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, 
or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent if 
thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that 
ventured its whole happiness in thy arms, to doubt one moment 
of thy kindness or thy truth if thou art a friend, and hast 
ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that 
generously confided in thee if thou art a lover and hast ever 
given one unmerited pang to that true heart which now lies cold 
and still beneath thy feet ; then be sure that every unkind look, 
every ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come throng- 
ing back upon thy memory, and knocking dolefully at thy soul 
then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repent- 
ant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the 
unavailing tear more deep, more bitter, because unheard and 

Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of 
nature about the grave ; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, 
with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret ; but take 


warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction ovel 
the dead, and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the 
discharge of thy duties to the living. 

IN writing the preceding article it was not intended to give 
a full detail of the funeral customs of the English peasantry, 
but merely to furnish a few hints and quotations illustrative 
of particular rites, to be appended, by way of note, to another 
paper, which has been withheld. The article swelled insensi- 
bly into its present form, and this is mentioned as an apology 
for so brief and casual a notice of these usages, after they have 
been amply and learnedly investigated in other works. 

I must observe, also, that 1 am well aware that this custom 
of adorning graves with flowers prevails in other countries be- 
sides England. Indeed, in some it is much more general, and 
is observed even by the rich and fashionable ; but it is then 
apt to lose its simplicity, and to degenerate into affectation. 
Bright, in his travels in Lower Hungary, tells of monuments 
of marble, and recesses formed for retirement, with seats 
placed among bowers of green-house plants ; and that the 
graves generally are covered with the gayest flowers of the 
season. He gives a casual picture of filial piety, which I can- 
not but describe, for I trust it is as useful as it is delightful to 
illustrate the amiable virtues of the sex. " When I was at Ber- 
lin," says he, " I followed the celebrated Iffland to the grave. 
Mingled with some pomp, you might trace much real feeling. 
In the midst of the ceremony, my attention was attracted by a 
young woman who stood on a mound of earth, newly covered 
with turf, which she anxiously protected from the feet of the 
passing crowd. It was the tomb of her parent ; and the figure 
of this affectionate daughter presented a monument more strik- 
ing than the most costly work of art." 

I will barely add an instance of sepulchral decoration that I 
once met with among the mountains of Switzerland. It was 
at the village of Gersau, which stands on the borders of the 
lake of Luzerne, at the foot of Mount Kigi. It was once the 
capital of a miniature republic, shut up between the Alps and 
the lake, and accessible on the land side only by footpaths. 
The whole force of the republic did not exceed six hundred 
fighting men ; and a few miles of circumference, scooped out, 
as it were, from the bosom of the mountains, comprised its 
territory. The village of Gersau seemed separated from the 


rest of the world, and retained the golden simplicity of a purer 
age. It had a small church, with a burying-ground adjoining. 
At the heads of the graves were placed crosses of wood or iron. 
On some were affixed miniatures, rudely executed, but evidently 
attempts at, likenesses of the deceased. On the crosses were 
hung chaplets of flowers, some withering, others fresh, as if 
occasionally renewed. I paused with interest at this scene ; 
I felt that I was at the source of poetical description, for these 
were the beautiful, but unaffected offerings of the heart, which 
poets are fain to record. In a gayer and more populous place, 
I should have suspected them to have been suggested by 
factitious sentiment, derived from books ; but the good people 
of Gersau knew little of books ; there was not a novel nor 
a love poem in the village ; and I question- whether any peas- 
ant of the place dreamt, while he was twining a fresh chap- 
let for the grave of his mistress, that he was fulfilling one of 
the most fanciful rites of poetical devotion, and that he was 
practically a poet. 


Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn? Falstaff. 

DURING a journey that I once made through the Netherlands, 
I had arrived one evening at the Pomme cTOr, the principal 
inn of a small Flemish village. It was after the hour of the 
table d'hote, so that I was obliged to make a solitary supper 
from the relics of its ampler board. The weather was chilly ; 
I was seated alone in one end of a great gloomy dining-room, 
and my repast being over, I had the prospect before me of a 
long dull evening, without any visible means of enlivening it. 
I summoned mine host, and requested something to read ; he 
brought me the whole literary stock of his household, a Dutch 
family Bible, an almanac in the same language, and a number 
of old Paris newspapers. As I sat dozing over one of the lat- 
ter, reading old news and stale criticisms, my ear was now 
and then struck with bursts of laughter which seemed to pro- 
ceed from the kitchen. Every one that has travelled on the 
Continent must know how favorite a resort the kitchen of a 
country inn is to the middle and inferior order of travellers ; 
particularly in that equivocal kind of weather when a fire be- 
comes agreeable toward evening. 1 threw aside the news- 


paper, and explored my way to the kitchen, to take a peep at 
the group that appeared to be so merry. It was composed 
partly of travellers who had arrived some hours before in a 
diligence, and partly of the usual attendants and hangers-on of 
inns. They were seated round a great burnished stove, that 
might have been mistaken for an altar, at which they were wor- 
shipping. It was covered with various kitchen vessels of re- 
splendent brightness ; among which steamed and hissed a huge 
copper tea-kettle. A large lamp threw a strong mass of light 
upon the group, bringing out many odd features in strong 
relief. Its yellow rays partially illumined the spacious kitchen, 
dying duskily away into remote corners except where they 
settled in mellow radiance on the broad side of a flitch of bacon, 
or were reflected back from well-scoured utensils that gleamed 
from the midst of obscurity. A strapping Flemish lass, with 
long golden pendants in her ears, and a necklace with a golden 
heart suspended to it, was the presiding priestess of the temple. 

Many of the company were furnished with pipes, and most 
of them with some kind of evening potation. I found their 
mirth was occasioned by anecdotes which a little swarthy 
Frenchman, with a dry weazen face and large whiskers, was 
giving of his love adventures ; at the end of each of which 
there was one of those bursts of honest unceremonious laugh- 
ter, in which a man indulges in that temple of true liberty, an 

As I had no better mode of getting through a tedious blus- 
tering evening, I took my seat near the stove, and listened to 
a variety of traveller's tales, some very extravagant, and most 
very dull. All of them, however, have faded from my treach- 
erous memory, except one, which I will endeavor to relate. 
I fear, however, it derived its chief zest from the manner in 
which it was told, and the peculiar air and appearance of the 
narrator. He was a corpulent old Swiss, who had the look of 
a veteran traveller. He was dressed in a tarnished green trav- 
elling-jacket, with a broad belt round his waist, and a pair of 
overalls with buttons from the hips to the ankles. He was of 
a full, rubicund countenance, with a double chin, aquiline nose, 
and a pleasant twinkling eye. His hair was light, and curled 
from under an old green velvet travelling-cap, stuck on one 
side of his head. He was interrupted more than once by the 
arrival of guests, or the remarks of his auditors ; and paused, 
now and then, to replenish his pipe ; at which times he had 
generally a roguish leer, and a sly joke, for the buxom kitchen 


I wish my reader could imagine the old fellow lolling in a 
huge arm-chair, one arm a-kimbo, the other holding a curiously 
twisted tobacco-pipe, formed of genuine ecume de mer, deco- 
rated with silver chain and silken tassel his head cocked on 
one side, and a whimsical cut of the eye occasionally, as he 
related the following story. 


He that supper for is dight, 

He lyes full cold, I trow, this night ! 

Yestreen to chamber I him led, 

This night Gray-steel has made his bed ! 


ON the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwald, a wild 
and romantic tract of Upper Germany, that lies not far from 
the confluence of the Main and the Rhine, there stood, many, 
many years since, the Castle of the Baron Von Landshort. It 
is now quite fallen to decay, and almost buried among beech 
trees and dark firs ; above which, however, its old watch-tower 
may still be seen struggling, like -the former possessor I have 
mentioned, to carry a high head, and look down upon a neigh- 
boring country. 

The Baron was a dry branch of the great family of Katzen- 
ellenbogen, 2 and inherited the relics of the property, and all 
the pride of his ancestors. Though the warlike disposition of 
his predecessors had much impaired the family possessions, yet 
the Baron still endeavored to keep up some show of former 
state. The times were peaceable, and the German nobles, in 
general, had abandoned their inconvenient old castles, perched 
like eagle's nests among the mountains, and had built more 
convenient residences in the valleys ; still the Baron remained 
proudly drawn up in his little fortress, cherishing with heredi- 
tary inveteracy all the old family feuds ; so that he was on ill 

1 The erudite reader, well versed in good-for-nothing lore, will perceive that the 
above Tale must have been suggested to the old Swiss by a little French anecdote, 
a circumstance said to have taken place at Paris. 

2 i.e., CAT'S ELBOW the name of a family of those parts, very powerful in former 
times. The appellation, we are told, was given in compliment to a peerless dame 
of the family, celebrated for a fine arm. 


terms with some of his nearest neighbors, on account of disputes 
that had happened between their great-great-grandfathers. 

The Baron had but one child, a daughter ; but Nature, when 
she grants but one child, always compensates by making it a 
prodigy ; and so it was with the daughter of the Baron. All 
the nurses, gossips, and country cousins, assured her father 
that she had not her equal for beauty in all Germany ; and who 
should know better than they? She had, moreover, been 
brought up with great care, under the superintendence of two 
maiden aunts, who had spent some years of their earty life at 
one of the little German courts, and were skilled in all the 
branches of knowledge necessary to the education of a fine 
lady. Under their instructions, she became a miracle of ac- 
complishments. By the time she was eighteen she could em- 
broider to admiration, and had worked whole histories of the 
saints in tapestry, with such strength of expression in their 
countenances, that they looked like so many souls in purga- 
tory. She could read without great difficult}', and had spelled 
her way through several church legends, and almost all the 
chivalric wonders of the Heldenbuch. She had even made 
considerable proficiency in writing, could sign her own name 
without missing a letter, and so legibly, that her aunts could 
read it without spectacles. She excelled in making little elegant 
good-for-nothing lady-like knickknacks of all kinds ; was versed 
in the most abstruse dancing of the day ; played a number of 
airs on the harp and guitar; and knew all the tender ballads of 
the Minnie-lieders by heart. 

Her aunts, too, having been great flirts and coquettes in their 
younger days, were admirably calculated to be vigilant guard- 
ians and strict censors of the conduct of their niece ; for there 
is no duenna so rigidly prudent, and inexorably decorous, as a 
superannuated coquette. She was rarely suffered out of their 
sight ; never went beyond the domains of the castle, unless well 
attended, or rather well watched ; had continual lectures read 
to her about strict decorum and implicit obedience ; and, as to 
the men pah ! she was taught to hold them at such a distance 
and in such absolute distrust, that, unless properly authorized, 
she would not have cast a glance upon the handsomest cavalier 
in the world no, not if he were even dying at her feet. 

The good effects of this system were wonderfully apparent. 
The young lady was a pattern of docility and correctness. 
While others were wasting their sweetness in the glare of the 
world, and liable to be plucked and thrown aside by every 
hand, she was coyly blooming into fresh and lovely woman- 


hood under the protection of those immaculate spinsters, like 
a rose-bud blushing forth among guardian thorns. Her aunts 
looked upon her with pride and exultation, and vaunted that 
though all the other young ladies in the world might go astray, 
yet, thank Heaven, nothing of the kind could happen to the 
heiress of Katzenellenbogen. 

But however scantily the Baron Von Landshort might be 
provided with children, his household was by no means a small 
one, for Providence had enriched him with abundance of poor 
relations. They, one and all, possessed the affectionate dispo- 
sition common to humble relatives ; were wonderfully attached 
to the Baron, and took every possible occasion to come in 
swarms and enliven the castle. All family festivals were com- 
memorated by these good people at the Baron's expense ; and 
when they were filled with good cheer, they would declare that 
there was nothing on earth so delightful as these family meet- 
ings, these jubilees of the heart. 

The Baron, though a small man, had a large soul, and it 
swelled with satisfaction at the consciousness of being the 
greatest man in the little world about him. He loved to tell 
long stories about the stark old warriors whose portraits looked 
grimly down from the walls around, and he found no listeners 
equal to those who fed at his expense. He was much given to 
the marvellous, and a firm believer in all those supernatural 
tales with which every mountain and valley in Germany 
abounds. The faith of his guests even exceeded his own : they 
listened to every tale of wonder with open eyes and mouth, 
and never failed to be astonished, even though repeated for 
the hundredth time. Thus lived the Baron Von Landshort, 
the oracle of his table, the absolute monarch of his little terri- 
tory, and happy, above all things, in the persuasion that he 
was the wisest man of the age. 

At the time of which my story treats, there was a great 
family-gathering at the castle, on an affair of the utmost im- 
portance : it was to receive the destined bridegroom of the 
Baron's daughter. A negotiation had been carried on between 
the father and an old nobleman of Bavaria, to unite the dignity 
of their houses by the marriage of their children. The prelimi- 
naries had been conducted with proper punctilio. The young 
people were betrothed without seeing each other, and the time 
was appointed for the marriage ceremony. The young Count 
Von Altenburg had been recalled from the army for the pur- 
pose, and was actually on his way to the Baron's to receive 
his bride. Missives had even been received from him, from 


Wurtzburg, where he was accidentally detained, mentioning the 
day and hour when he might be expected to arrive. 

The castle was in a tumult of preparation to give him a 
suitable welcome. The fair bride had been decked out with 
uncommon care. The two aunts had superintended her toilet, 
and quarrelled the whole morning about every article of her 
dress. The young lady had taken advantage of their contest 
to follow the bent of her own taste ; and fortunately it was a 
good one. She looked as lovely as youthful bridegroom could 
desire ; and the flutter of expectation heightened the lustre of 
her charms. 

The suffusions that mantled her face and neck, the gentle 
heaving of the bosom, the eye now and then lost in reverie, all 
betrayed the soft tumult that was going on in her little heart. 
The aunts were continually hovering around her ; for maiden 
aunts are apt to take great interest in affairs of this nature ; 
they were giving her a world of staid counsel how to deport 
herself, what to say, and in what manner to receive the ex- 
pected lover. 

The Baron was no less busied in preparations. He had, in 
truth, nothing exactly to do ; but he was naturally a fuming, 
bustling little man, and could not remain passive when all the 
world was in a hurry. He worried from top to bottom of the 
castle, with an air of infinite anxiety ; he continually called the 
servants from their work to exhort them to be diligent, and 
buzzed about every hall and chamber, as idly restless and im- 
portunate as a blue-bottle fly of a warm summer's day. 

In the mean time, the fatted calf had been killed ; the forests 
had rung with the clamor of the huntsmen ; the kitchen was 
crowded with good cheer ; the cellars had yielded up whole 
oceans of Rhein-wein and Ferne-wein, and even the great Hei- 
delberg tun had been laid under contribution. Every thing 
was ready to receive the distinguished guest with /Saus und 
Braus in the true spirit of German hospitality but the guest 
delayed to make his appearance. Hour rolled after hour. The 
sun that had poured his downward rays upon the rich forests 
of the Odenwald, now just gleamed along the summits of the 
mountains. The Baron mounted the highest tower, and strained 
his eyes in hope of catching a distant sight of the Count and 
his attendants. Once he thought he beheld them ; the sound 
of horns came floating from the valley, prolonged by the moun- 
tain echoes : a number of horsemen were seen far below, slowly 
advancing along the road ; but when they had nearly reached 
the foot of the mountain, they suddenly struck off in a different 


direction. The last ray of sunshine departed the bats began 
to flit by in the twilight the road grew dimmer and dimmer 
to the view : and nothing appeared stirring in it, but now and 
then a peasant lagging homeward from his labor. 

While the old castle of Landshort was in this state of per- 
plexity, a very interesting scene was transacting in a different 
part of the Odenwald. 

The young Count Von Altenburg was tranquilly pursuing his 
route in that sober jog-trot way in which a man travels toward 
matrimony when his friends have taken all the trouble and un- 
certainty of courtship off his hands, and a bride is waiting for 
him, as certainly as a dinner, at the end of his journey. He 
had encountered at Wurtzburg a youthful companion in arms, 
with whom he had seen some service on the frontiers ; Herman 
Von Starkenfaust, one of the stoutest hands and worthiest 
hearts of German chivalry, who was now returning from the 
army. His father's castle was not far distant from the old 
fortress of Landshort, although an hereditary feud rendered the 
families hostile, and strangers to each other. 

In the warm-hearted moment of recognition, the young 
friends related all their past adventures and fortunes, and the 
Count gave the whole history of his intended nuptials with a 
young lady whom he had never seen, but of whose charms he 
had received the most enrapturing descriptions. 

As the route of the friends lay in the same direction, they 
agreed to perform the rest of their journey together ; and that 
they might do it the more leisurely, set off from Wurtzburg at 
an early hour, the Count having given directions for his retinue 
to follow and overtake him. 

They beguiled their wayfaring with recollections of their 
military scenes and adventures ; but the Count was apt to be a 
little tedious, now and then, about the reputed charms of his 
bride, and the felicity that awaited him. 

In this way they had entered among the mountains of the 
Odenwald, and were traversing one of its most lonely and 
thickly wooded passes. It is well known that the forests of 
Germany have always been as much infested by robbers as 
its castles by spectres ; and, at this time, the former were par- 
ticularly numerous, from the hordes of disbanded soldiers wan- 
dering about the country. It will not appear extraordinary, 
therefore, that the cavaliers were attacked by a gang of these 
stragglers, in the midst of the forest. They defended them- 
selves with bravery, but were nearly overpowered when the 
Count's retinue arrived to their assistance. At sight of them 


the robbers fled, but not until the Count had received a mortal 
wound. He was slowly and carefully conveyed back to the city 
of Wurtzburg, and a friar summoned from a neighboring con- 
Vent, who was famous for his skill in administering to both soul 
and body. But half of his skill was superfluous ; the moments 
of the unfortunate Count were numbered. 

With his dying breath he entreated his friend to repair in- 
stantly to the castle of Landshort, and explain the fatal cause 
of his not keeping his appointment with his bride. Though not 
the most ardent of lovers, he was one of the most punctilious 
of men, and appeared earnestly solicitous that his mission 
should be speedily and courteously executed. " Unless this is 
done," said he, " I shall not sleep quietly in my grave ! " He 
repeated these last words with peculiar solemnity. A request, 
at a moment so impressive, admitted no hesitation. Starken- 
faust endeavored to soothe him to calmness ; promised faith- 
fully to execute his wish, and gave him his hand in solemn 
pledge. The dying man pressed it in acknowledgment, but 
soon lapsed into delirium raved about his bride his engage- 
ments^ his plighted word; ordered his horse, that he might 
ride to the castle of Landshort, and expired in the fancied act 
of vaulting into the saddle. 

Starkeufaust bestowed a sigh, and a soldier's tear on the un- 
timely fate of his comrade ; and then pondered on the awkward 
mission he had undertaken. His heart was heavy, and his head 
perplexed ; for he was to present himself an unbidden guest 
among hostile people, and to damp their festivity with tidings 
fatal to their hopes. Still there were certain whisperings of 
curiosity in his bosom to see this far-famed beauty of Katzen- 
ellenbogen, so cautiously shut up from the world ; for he was a 
passionate admirer of the sex, and there was a dash of eccen- 
tricity and enterprise in his character, that made him fond of all 
singular adventure. 

Previous to his departure, he made all due arrangements with 
the hoi}- fraternity of the convent for the funeral solemnities of 
his friend, who was to be buried in the cathedral of Wurtzburg, 
near some of his illustrious relatives ; and the mourning retinue 
of the Count took charge of his remains. 

It is now high time that we should return to the ancient fam- 
ily of Katzenellenbogen, who were impatient for their guest, 
and still more for their dinner ; and to the worthy little Baron, 
whom we left airing himself on the watch-tower. 

Night closed in, but still no guest arrived. The Baron de- 
scended from the tower in despair. The banquet, which had 


been delayed from hour to hour, could no longer be postponed. 
The meats were already overdone ; the cook in an agony ; and 
the whole household had the look of a garrison that had been 
reduced by famine. The Baron was obliged reluctantly to give 
orders for the feast without the presence of the guest. All 
were seated at table, and just on the point of commencing, 
when the sound of a horn from without the gate gave notice 
of the approach of a stranger. Another long blast filled the 
old courts of the castle with its echoes, and was answered by 
the warder from the walls. The Baron hastened to receive his 
future son-in-law. 

The drawbridge had been let down, and the stranger was 
before the gate. He was a tall, gallant cavalier, mounted on a 
black steed. His countenance was pale, but he had a beaming, 
romantic eye, and an air of stately melancholy. The Baron 
was a little mortified that he should have come in this simple, 
solitary style. His dignity for a moment was ruffled, and he 
felt disposed to consider it a want of proper respect for the im- 
portant occasion, and the important family with which he was 
to be connected. He pacified himself, however, with the con- 
clusion that it must have been youthful impatience which had 
induced him thus to spur on sooner than his attendants. 

" I am sorry," said the stranger, " to break in upon you thus 
unseasonably " 

Here the Baron interrupted him with a world of compliments 
and greetings ; for, to tell the truth, he prided himself upon his 
courtesy and eloquence. The stranger attempted, once or 
twice, to stem the torrent of words, but in vain ; so he bowed 
his head and suffered it to flow on. By the time the Baron had 
come to a pause, they had reached the inner court of the castle ; 
and the stranger was again about to speak, when he was once 
more interrupted by the appearance of the female part of the 
family, leading forth the shrinking and blushing bride. He 
uazed on her for a moment as one entranced ; it seemed as if 
his whole soul beamed forth in the gaze, and rested upon that 
lovely form. One of the maiden aunts whispered something in 
her ear ; she made an effort to speak ; her moist blue eye was 
timidly raised, gave a shy glance of inquiry on the stranger, 
and was cast again to the ground. The words died away ; but 
there was a sweet smile playing about her lips, and a soft dim- 
pling of the cheek, that showed her glance had not been un- 
satisfactory. It was impossible for a girl of the fond age of 
eighteen, highly predisposed for love and matrimony, not to be 
pleased with so gallant a cavalier. 


The late hour at which the guest had arrived, left no time 
for parley. The Baron was peremptory, and deferred all par- 
ticular conversation until the. morning, and led the way to the 
untasted banquet. 

It was served up in the great hall of the castle. Around the 
walls hung the hard-favored portraits of the heroes of the house 
of Katzenelleubogen, and the trophies which they had gained 
in the field and in the chase. Hacked corselets, splintered 
jousting spears, and tattered banners, were mingled with the 
spoils of sylvan warfare : the jaws of the wolf, and the tusks 
of the boar, grinned horribly among cross-bows and battle- 
axes, and a huge pair of antlers branched immediately over the 
head of the youthful bridegroom. 

The cavalier took but little notice of the company or the 
entertainment. He scarcely tasted the banquet, but seemed 
absorbed in admiration of his bride. He conversed in a low 
tone, that could not be overheard for the language of love is 
never loud ; but where is the female ear so dull that it cannot 
catch the softest whisper of the lover? There was a mingled 
tenderness and gravity in his manner, that appeared to have a 
powerful effect upon the young lady. Her color came and 
went, as she listened with deep attention. Now and then she 
made some blushing reply, and when his eye was turned away, 
she would steal a sidelong glance at his romantic countenance, 
and heave a gentle sigh of tender happiness. It was evident 
that the young couple were completely enamoured. The aunts, 
who were deeply versed in the mysteries of the heart, de- 
clared that they had fallen in love with each other at first 

The feast went on merrily, or at least noisily, for the guests 
were all blessed with those keen appetites that attend upon 
light purses and mountain air. The Baron told his best and 
longest stories, and never had he told them so well, or with 
such great effect. If there was any thing marvellous, his 
auditors were lost in astonishment ; and if any thing facetious, 
they were sure to laugh exactly in the right place. The Baron, 
it is true, like most great men, was too dignified to utter any 
joke, but a dull one ; it was always enforced, however, by a 
bumper of excellent Hockheimer; and even a dull joke, at 
one's own table, served up with jolly old wine, is irresistible. 
Many good things were said by poorer and keener wits, that 
would not bear repeating, except on similar occasions ; many 
sly speeches whispered in ladies' ears, that almost convulsed 
them with suppressed laughter ; and a song or two roared out 


by a poor, but merry and broad-faced cousin of the Baron, that 
absolutely made the maiden aunts hold up their fans. 

Amidst all this revelry, the stranger guest maintained a most 
singular and unseasonable gravity. His countenance assumed 
a deeper cast of dejection as the evening advanced, and, 
strange as it may appear, even the Baron's jokes seemed only 
to render him the more melancholy. At times he was lost in 
thought, and at times there was a perturbed and restless wan- 
dering of the eye that bespoke a mind but ill at ease. His 
conversations with the bride became more and more earnest 
and mysterious. Lowering clouds began to steal over the fair 
serenity of her brow, and tremors to run through her tender 

All this could not escape the notice of the company. Their 
gayety was chilled by the unaccountable gloom of the bride- 
groom ; their spirits were infected ; whispers and glances were 
interchanged, accompanied by shrugs and dubious shakes of the 
head. The song and the laugh grew less and less frequent ; 
there were dreary pauses in the conversation, which were at 
length succeeded by wild tales, and supernatural legends. 
One dismal story produced another still more dismal, and the 
Baron nearly frightened some of the ladies into hysterics 
with the history of the goblin horseman that carried away 
the fair Leonora a dreadful story, which ha s since been 
put into excellent verse, and is read and believed by all the 

The bridegroom listened to this tale with profound attention. 
He kept his eyes steadily fixed on the Baron, and as the story 
drew to a close, began gradually to rise from his seat, growing 
taller and taller, until, in the Baron's entranced eye, he seemed 
almost to tower into a giant. The moment the tale was fin- 
ished, he heaved a deep sigh, and took a solemn farewell of the 
company. They were all amazement. The Baron was per- 
fectly thunderstruck. 

"What! going to leave the castle at midnight? why, every 
thing was prepared for his reception ; a chamber was ready for 
him if he wished to retire." 

The stranger shook his head mournfully, and mysteriously ; 
" I must lay my head in a different chamber to-night ! " 

There was something in this reply, and the tone in which it 
was uttered, that made the Baron's heart misgive him ; but he 
rallied his forces, and repeated his hospitable entreaties. The 
stranger shook his head silently, but positively, at every offer ; 
and, waving his farewell to the company, stalked slowly out of 


the hall. The maiden aunts were absolutely petrified the 
bride hung her head, and a tear stole to her eye. 

The Baron followed the stranger to the great court of the 
castle, where the black charger stood pawing the earth, and 
snorting with impatience. When they had reached the portal, 
whose deep archway was dimly lighted by a cresset, the stran- 
ger paused, and addressed the Baron in a hollow tone of voice, 
which the vaulted roof rendered still more sepulchral. " Now 
that we are alone," said he,. " I will impart to you the reason of 
my going. I have a solemn, an indispensable engagement 

" Why," said the Baron, ." cannot you send some one in your 
place ? ' ' 

" It admits of no substitute I must attend it in person I 
must away to Wurtzburg cathedral 

"Ay," said the Baron, plucking up spirit, "but not until 
to-morrow to-morrow you shall take your bride there." 

"No! no!" replied the stranger, with ten-fold solemnity, 
"my engagement is with no bride the worms! the worms 
expect me ! I am a dead man I have been slain by robbers 
my body lies at Wurtzburg at midnight I am to be buried 
the grave is waiting for me I must keep my appointment ! ' ' 

He sprang on his black charger, dashed over the drawbridge, 
and the clattering of his horse's hoofs was lost in the whistling 
of the night-blast. 

The Baron returned to the hall in the utmost consternation, 
and related what had passed. Two ladies fainted outright; 
others sickened at the idea of having banqueted with a spectre. 
It was the opinion of some, that this might be the wild hunts- 
man famous in German legend. Some talked of mountain 
sprites, of wood-demons, and of other supernatural beings, 
with which the good people of Germany have been so griev- 
ously harassed since time immemorial. One of the poor rela 
tions ventured to suggest that it might be some sportive evasion 
of the young cavalier, and that the very gloominess of the ca- 
price seemed to accord with so melancholy a personage. This, 
however, drew on him the indignation of the whole company, and 
especially of the Baron, who looked upon him as little better than 
an infidel ; so that he was fain to abjure his heresy as speedily 
as possible, and come into the faith of the true believers. 

But, whatever may have been the doubts entertained, they 
were completely put to an end by the arrival, next day, of reg- 
ular missives, confirming the intelligence of the young Count's 
murder, and his interment in Wurtzburg cathedral. 

The dismay at the castle may well be imagined. The Baron 


shut himself up in his chamber. The guests who had come to 
rejoice with him could not think of abandoning him in his dis- 
tress. They wandered about the courts, or collected in groups 
in the hall, shaking their heads and shrugging their shoulders, 
at the troubles of so good a man ; and sat longer than ever at 
table, and ate and drank more stoutly than ever, by way of 
keeping up their spirits. But the situation of the widowed 
bride was the most pitiable. To have lost a husband before 
she had even embraced him and such a husband ! if the very 
spectre could be so gracious and noble what must have been the 
living man ? She filled the house with lamentations. 

On the night of the second day of her widowhood, she had 
retired to her chamber, accompanied by one of her aunts, who 
insisted on sleeping with her. The aunt, who was one of the 
best tellers of ghost stories in all Germany, had just been re- 
counting one of her longest, and had fallen asleep in the very 
midst of it. The chamber was remote, and overlooked a small 
garden. The niece lay pensively gazing at the beams of the 
rising moon, as they trembled on the leaves of an aspen tree 
before the lattice. The castle clock had just told midnight, 
when a soft strain of music stole up from the garden. She 
rose hastily from her bed, and stepped lightly to the window. 
A tall figure stood among the shadows of the trees. As it 
raised its head, a beam of moonlight fell upon the countenance. 
Heaven and earth ! she beheld the Spectre Bridegroom ! A 
loud shriek at that moment burst upon her ear, and her aunt, 
who had been awakened by the music, and had followed her 
silently to the window, fell into her arms. When she looked 
again, the spectre had disappeared. 

Of the two females, the aunt now required the most soothing, 
for she was perfectly beside herself with terror. As to the 
young lady, there was something, even in the spectre of her 
lover, that seemed endearing. There was still the semblance 
of manly beauty ; and though the shadow of a man is but little 
calculated to satisfy the affections of a love-sick girl, yet, where 
the substance is not to be had, even that is consoling. The 
aunt declared she would never sleep in that chamber again ; the 
niece, for once, was refractory, and declared as strongly that 
she would sleep in no other in the castle : the consequence was, 
that she had to sleep in it alone ; but she drew a promise from 
her aunt not to relate the story of the spectre, lest she should 
be denied the only melancholy pleasure left her on earth that 
of inhabiting the chamber over which the guardian shade of her 
lover kept its nightly vigils. 


How long the good old lady would have observed this prom- 
ise is uncertain, for she dearly loved to talk of the marvellous, 
and there is a triumph in being the first to tell a frightful story ; 
it is, however, still quoted in the neighborhood, as a memora- 
ble instance of female secrecy, that she kept it to herself for a 
whole week ; when she was suddenly absolved from all further 
restraint, by intelligence brought to the breakfast-table one 
morning that the young lady was not to be found. Her room 
was empty the bed had not been slept in the window was 
open and the bird had flown ! 

The astonishment and concern with which the intelligence 
was received, can only be imagined by those who have wit- 
nessed the agitation which the mishaps of a great man cause 
among his friends. Even the poor relations paused for a 
moment from the indefatigable labors of the trencher ; when 
the aunt, who had at first been struck speechless, wrung her 
hands and shrieked out, " The goblin! the goblin! she's car- 
ried away by the goblin ! " 

In a few words she related the fearful scene of the garden, 
and concluded that the spectre must have carried off his bride. 
Two of the domestics corroborated the opinion, for they had 
heard the clattering of a horse's hoofs down the mountain about 
midnight, and had no doubt that it was the spectre on his black 
charger, bearing her away to the tomb. All present were 
struck with the direful probability ; for events of the kind are 
extremely common in Germany, as many well-authenticated his- 
tories bear witness. 

What a lamentable situation was that of the poor Baron ! 
What a heart-rending dilemma for a fond father, and a mem- 
ber of the great family of Katzenellenbogen ! His only daugh- 
ter had either been rapt away to the grave, or he was to have 
some wood-demon for a son-in-law, and, perchance, a troop of 
goblin grand-children. As usual, he was completely bewil- 
dered, and all the castle in an uproar. The men were ordered 
to take horse, and scour every road and path and glen of the 
Odenwald. ? he Baron himself had just drawn on his jack- 
boots, girded on his sword, and was about to mount his steed 
to sally forth on the doubtful quest, when he was brought to a 
pause by a new apparition. A lady was seen approaching the 
castle, mounted on a palfrey attended by a cavalier on horse- 
back. She galloped up to the gate, sprang from her horse, and 
falling at the Baron's feet embraced his knees. It was his lost 
daughter, and her companion the Spectre Bridegroom ! The 
Baron was astounded. He looked at his daughter, then at the 


Spectre, and almost doubted the evidence of his senses. The 
latter, too, was wonderfully improved in his appearance, since 
his visit to the world of spirits. His dress was splendid, and 
set off a noble figure of manly symmetry. He was no longer 
pale and melancholy. His fine countenance was flushed with 
the glow of youth, and joy rioted in his large dark eye. 

The mysterj was soon cleared up. The cavalier (for in 
truth, as you must have known all the while, he was no goblin) 
announced himself as Sir Herman Von Starkenfaust. He re- 
lated his adventure with the young Count. He told how he 
had hastened to the castle to deliver the unwelcome tidings, but 
that the eloquence of the Baron had interrupted him in every 
attempt to tell his tale. How the sight of the bride had com- 
pletely captivated him, and that to pass a few hours near her, 
he had tacitly suffered the mistake to continue. How he had 
been sorely perplexed in what way to make a decent retreat, 
until the Baron's goblin stories had suggested his eccentric 
exit. How, fearing the feudal hostility of the family, he had 
repeated his visits by stealth had haunted the garden be- 
neath the young lady's window had wooed had won 
had borne away in triumph and, in a word, had wedded the 

Under any other circumstances, the Baron would have been 
inflexible, for he was tenacious of paternal authority, and de- 
voutly obstinate in all family feuds ; but he loved his daughter ; 
he had lamented her as lost ; he rejoiced to find her still alive ; 
and, though her husband was of a hostile house, yet, thank 
Heaven, he was not a goblin. There was something, it must 
be acknowledged, that did not exactly accord with his notions 
of strict veracity, in the joke the knight had passed upon him 
of his being a dead man ; but several old friends present, who 
had served in the wars, assured him that every stratagem was 
excusable in love, and that the cavalier was entitled to especial 
privilege, having lately served as a trooper. 

Matters, therefore, were happily arranged. The Baron par- 
doned the young couple on the spot. The revels- at the castle 
were resumed. The poor relations overwhelmed this new mem- 
ber of the family with loving kindness ; he was so gallant, so 
generous and so rich. The aunts, it is true, were somewhat 
scandalized that their system of strict seclusion and passive 
obedience should be so badly exemplified, but attributed it all 
to their negligence in not having the windows grated. One of 
them was particularly mortified at having her marvellous story 
marred, and that the only spectre she had ever seen should turn 


out a counterfeit ; but the niece seemed perfectly happy at hav- 
ing found him substantial flesh and blood and so the story 


When I behold, wijth deep astonishment, 
To famous Westminster how there resorte, 
Living in brasse or stony monument, 
The princes and the worthies of all sorte; 
Doe not I see reformde nobilitie, 
Without contempt, or pride, or ostentation, 
And looke upon offenselesse majesty, 
Naked of pomp or earthly domination? 
And how a play-game of a painted stone 
Contents the quiet now and silent sprites, 
Whome all the world which late they stood upon, 
Could not content or quench their appetites. 

Life is a frost of cold felicitie, 

And death the thaw of all our vanitie. 

Christolero's Epigrams, by T. B., 1598. 

ON one of those sober and rather melancholy days, in the 
latter part of autumn, when the shadows of morning and even- 
ing almost mingle together, and throw a gloom over the decline 
of the year, I passed several hours in rambling about Westmin- 
ster Abbey. There was something congenial to the season in 
the mournful magnificence of the old pile ; and as I passed its 
threshold, it seemed like stepping back into the regions of antiq- 
uity, and losing myself among the shades of former ages. 

I entered from the inner court of Westminster school, through 
a long, low, vaulted passage, that had an almost subterranean 
look, being dimly lighted in one part by circular perforations in 
the massive walls. Through this dark avenue I had a distant 
view of the cloisters, with the figure of an old verger, in his 
black gown, moving along their shadowy vaults, and seeming 
like a spectre from one of the neighboring tombs. 

The approach to the abbey through these gloomy monastic 
remains, prepares the mind for its solemn contemplation. The 
cloister still retains something of the quiet and seclusion of 
former days. The gray walls are discolored by damps, and 
crumbling with age ; a coat of hoary moss has gathered over 
the inscriptions of the mural monuments, and obscured the 
death's heads, and other funeral emblems. The sharp touches 
of the chisel are gone from the rich tracery of the arches ; the 


roses which adorned the key-stones have lost their leafy beauty ; 
every thing bears marks of the gradual dilapidations of time, 
which yet has something touching and pleasing in its very 

The sun was pouring down a yellow autumnal ray into the 
square of the cloisters ; beaming upon a scanty plot of grass in 
the centre, and lighting up an angle of the vaulted passage 
with a kind of dusky splendor. From between the arcades, 
the eye glanced up to a bit of blue sky, or a passing cloud ; and 
beheld the sun-gilt pinnacles of the abbey towering into the 
azure heaven. 

As I paced the cloisters, sometimes contemplating this min- 
gled picture of glory and decay, and sometimes endeavoring to 
decipher the inscriptions on the tombstones, which formed the 
pavement beneath my feet, my eye was attracted to three 
figures, rudely carved in relief, but nearly worn away by the 
footsteps of many generations. They were the effigies of three 
of the early abbots ; the epitaphs were entirely effaced ; the 
names alone remained, having no doubt been renewed in later 
times ; (Vitalis Abbas. 1082, and Gislebertus Crispinus. Ab- 
bas. 1114, and Laurentius. Abbas. 1176.) I remained some 
little while, musing over these casual relics of antiquity, thus 
left like wrecks upon this distant shore of time, telling no tale 
but that such beings had been and had perished ; teaching no 
moral but the futility of that pride which hopes still to exact 
homage in its ashes, and to live in an inscription. A little 
longer, and even these faint records will be obliterated, and the 
monument will cease to be a memorial. Whilst I was yet look- 
ing down upon these gravestones, I was roused by the sound of 
the abbey clock, reverberating from buttress to buttress, and 
echoing among the cloisters. It is almost startling to hear this 
warning of departed time sounding among the tombs, and tell- 
ing the lapse of the hour, which, like a billow, has rolled us 
onward towards the grave. 

I pursued my walk to an arched door opening to the interior 
of the abbey. On entering here, the magnitude of the building 
breaks fully upon the mind, contrasted with the vaults of the 
cloisters. The eyes gaze with wonder at clustered columns of 
gigantic dimensions, with arches springing from them to such 
an amazing height ; and man wandering about their bases, 
shrunk into insignificance in comparison with his own handi- 
work. The spaciousness and gloom of this vast edifice produce 
a profound and mysterious awe. We step cautiously and softly 
about, as if fearful of disturbing the hallowed silence of the 


tomb ; while every footfall whispers along the walls, and chat- 
ters among the sepulchres, making us more sensible of the quiet 
we have interrupted. 

It seems as if the awful nature of the place presses down 
upon the soul, and hushes the beholder into noiseless reverence. 
We feel that we are surrounded by the congregated bones of 
the great men of past times, who have filled history with their 
deeds, and the earth with their renown. And yet it almost pro- 
vokes a smile at the vanity of human ambition, to see how they 
are crowded together, and jostled in the dust ; what parsimony 
is observed in doling out a scant} 7 nook a gloomy corner a 
little portion of earth to those whom, when alive, kingdoms 
could not satisfy ; and how many shapes, and forms, and arti- 
fices, are devised to catch the casual notice of the passenger, 
and save from forgetfulness, for a few short years, a name 
which once aspired to occupy ages of the world's thought and 

I passed some time in Poet's Corner, which occupies an end 
of one of the transepts or cross aisles of the abbey. The monu- 
ments are generally simple ; for the lives of literary men afford 
no striking themes for the sculptor. Shakspeare and Addison 
have statues erected to their memories ; but the greater part 
have busts, medallions, and sometimes mere inscriptions. Not- 
withstanding the simplicity of these memorials, I have always 
observed that the visitors to the abbey remain 'ongest about 
them. A kinder and fonder feeling takes place of that cold 
curiosity or vague admiration with which the}' gaze on the 
splendid monuments of the great and the heroic. They linger 
about these as about the tombs of friends and companions ; for 
indeed there is something of companionship between the author 
and the reader. Other men are known to posterity only 
through the medium of history, which is continually growing 
faint and obscure ; but the intercourse between the author and 
his fellow-men is ever new, active, and immediate. He has 
lived for them more than for himself ; he has sacrificed sur- 
rounding enjoyments, and shut himself up from the delights of 
social life, that he might the more intimately commune with 
distant minds and distant ages. Well may the world cherish 
his renown ; for it has been purchased, not b}- deeds of violence 
and blood, but by the diligent dispensation of pleasure. Well 
may posterity be grateful to his memory ; for he has left it an 
inheritance, not of empty names and sounding actions, but 
whole treasures of wisdom, bright gems of thought, and golden 
veins of language. 


From Poet's Corner I continued ray stroll towards that part 
of the abbey which contains the sepulchres of the kings. I 
wandered among what once were chapels, but which are now 
occupied by the tombs and monuments of the great. At every 
turn, I met with some illustrious name, or the cognizance of 
some powerful house renowned in history. As the eye darts 
into these dusky chambers of death, it catches glimpses of 
quaint effigies : some kneeling in niches, as if in devotion ; 
others stretched upon the tombs, with hands piously pressed 
together ; warriors in armor, as if reposing after battle ; prel- 
ates, with crosiers and mitres ; and nobles in robes and coro- 
nets, lying as it were in state. In glancing over this scene, so 
strangely populous, yet where every form is so still and silent, 
it seems almost as if we were treading a mansion of that fabled 
city, where every being had been suddenly transmuted into 

I paused to contemplate a tomb on which lay the effigy of a 
knight in complete armor. A large buckler was on one arm ; 
the hands were pressed together in supplication upon the 
breast ; the face was almost covered by the morion ; the legs 
were crossed in token of the warrior's having been engaged in 
the hoi}' war. It was the tomb of a crusader ; of one of those 
military enthusiasts, who so strangely mingled religion and ro- 
mance, and whose exploits form the connecting link between 
fact and fiction between the history and the fairy tale. There 
is something extremely picturesque in the tombs of these 
adventurers, decorated as they are with rude armorial bear- 
ings and Gothic sculpture. They comport with the antiquated 
chapels in which they are generally found ; and in considering 
them, the imagination is apt to kindle with the legendary 
associations, the romantic fiction, the chivalrous pomp and 
pageantry, which poetry has spread over the wars for the Sep* 
ulchre of Christ. They are the relics of times utterly gone by ; 
of beings passed from recollection ; of customs and manners 
with which ours have no affinity. They are like objects from 
some strange and distant land, of which we have no certain 
knowledge, and about which all our conceptions are vague and 
visionary. There is something extremely solemn and awful in 
those effigies on Gothic tombs, extended as if in the sleep of 
death, or in the supplication of the dying hour. They have an 
effect infinitely more impressive on my feelings than the fanci- 
ful attitudes, the overwrought conceits, and allegorical groups, 
which abound on modern monuments. I have been struck, 
also, with the superiority of many of the old sepulchral iuscrip- 


tions. There was a noble way, in former times, of saying 
things simply, and yet saying them proudly : and I do not know 
an epitaph that breathes a loftier consciousness of family worth 
and honorable lineage, than one which affirms, of a noble 
house, that ''all the brothers were brave, and all the sisters 

In the opposite transept to Poet's Corner, stands a monument 
which is among the most renowned achievements of modern 
art ; but which, to me, appears horrible rather than sublime. 
It is the tomb of Mrs. Nightingale, by Roubillac. The bottom 
of the monument is represented as throwing open its marble 
doors, and a sheeted skeleton is starting forth. The shroud is 
falling from his fleshless frame as he launches his dart at his 
victim. She is sinking into her affrighted husband's arms, 
who strives, with vain and frantic effort, to avert the blow. 
The whole is executed with terrible truth and spirit ; we almost 
fancy we hear the gibbering yell of triumph, bursting from the 
distended jaws of the spectre. But why should we thus seek 
to clothe death with unnecessary terrors, and to spread horrors 
round the tomb of those we love ? The grave should be sur- 
rounded by every thing that might inspire tenderness and ven- 
eration for the dead ; or that might win the living to virtue. It 
is the place, not of disgust and dismay, but of sorrow and 

While wandering about these gloomy vaults and silent aisles, 
studying the records of the dead, the sound of busy existence 
from without occasionally reaches the ear : the rumbling of 
the passing equipage ; the murmur of the multitude ; or perhaps 
the light laugh of pleasure. The contrast is striking with the 
deathlike repose around ; and it has a strange effect upon the 
feelings, thus to hear the surges of active life hurrying along 
and beating against the very walls of the sepulchre. 

I continued in this way to move from tomb to tomb, and 
from chapel to chapel. The day was gradually wearing away ; 
the distant tread of loiterers about the abbey grew less and less 
frequent ; the sweet-tongued bell was summoning to evening 
prayers ; and I saw at a distance the choristers, in their white 
surplices, crossing the aisle and entering the choir. I stood 
before the entrance to Henry the Seventies chapel. A flight of 
steps leads up to it, through a deep and gloomy, but magnifi- 
cent arch. Great gates of brass, richly and delicately wrought, 
turn heavily upon their hinges, as if proudly reluctant to 
admit the feet of common mortals into this most gorgeous of 


On entering, the eye is astonished by the pomp of architec- 
ture, and the elaborate beauty of sculptured detail. The very 
walls are wrought into universal ornament, encrusted with 
tracery, and scooped into niches, crowded with the statues of 
saints and martyrs. Stone seems, by the cunning labor of the 
chisel, to have been robbed of its weight and density, suspended 
aloft, as if by magic, and the fretted roof achieved with the 
wonderful minuteness and airy security of a cobweb. 

Along the sides of the chapel are the lofty stalls of the 
Knights of the Bath, richly carved of oak, though 'with the gro- 
tesque decorations of Gothic architecture. On the pinnacles of 
the stalls are affixed the helmets and crests of the knights, with 
their scarfs and swords ; and above them are suspended their 
banners, emblazoned with armorial bearings, and contrasting 
the splendor of gold and purple and crimson, with the cold gray 
fretwork of the roof. In the midst of this grand mausoleum 
stands the sepulchre of its founder, his effigy, with that 
of his queen, extended on a sumptuous tomb, and the whole 
surrounded by a superbly wrought brazen railing. 

There is a sad dreariness in this magnificence ; this strange 
mixture of tombs and trophies ; these emblems of living and 
aspiring ambition, close beside mementos which show the dust 
and oblivion in which all must sooner or later terminate. 
Nothing impresses the mind with a deeper feeling of loneliness, 
than to tread the silent and deserted scene of former throng 
and pageant. On looking round on the vacant stalls of the 
knights and their esquires, and on the rows of dusty but gor- 
geous banners that were once borne before them, my imagina- 
tion conjured up the scene when this hall was bright with the 
valor and beauty of the land ; glittering with the splendor of 
jewelled rank and military array ; alive with the tread of many 
feet, and the hum of an admiring multitude. All had passed 
away ; the silence of death had settled again upon the place, 
interrupted only by the casual chirping of birds, which had 
found their way into the chapel, and built their nests among 
its friezes and pendants sure signs of solitariness and deser- 
tion. When I read the names inscribed on the banners, they 
were those of men scattered far and wide about the world ; some 
tossing upon distant seas ; some under arms in distant lands ; 
some mingling in the busy intrigues of courts and cabinets : all 
seeking to deserve one more distinction in this mansion of 
shadowy honors the melancholy reward of a monument. 

Two small aisles on each side of this chapel present a touch- 
ing instance of the equality of the grave, which brings down 


the oppressor to a level with the oppressed, and mingles the 
dust of the bitterest enemies together. In one is the sepulchre 
of the haughty Elizabeth ; in the other is that of her victim, 
the lovely and unfortunate Mary. Not an hour in the day, but 
some ejaculation of pity is uttered over the fate of the latter, 
mingled with indignation at her oppressor. The walls of Eliza- 
beth's sepulchre continually echo with the sighs of sympathy 
heaved at the grave of her rival. 

A peculiar melancholy reigns over the aisle where Mary lies 
buried. The light struggles dimly through windows darkened 
by dust. The greater part of the place is in deep shadow, and 
the walls are stained and tinted by time and weather. A 
marble figure of Mary is stretched upon the tomb, round which 
is an iron railing, much corroded, bearing her national emblem 
the thistle. I was weary with wandering, and sat down 
to rest myself by the monument, revolving in my mind the 
chequered and disastrous story of poor Mary. 

The sound of casual footsteps had ceased from the abbey. I 
could only hear, now and then, the distant voice of the priest 
repeating the evening service, -and the faint responses of the 
choir ; these paused for a time, and all was hushed. The still- 
ness, the desertion and obscurity that were gradually prevail- 
ing around, gave a deeper and more solemn interest to the 
place : 

For in the silent grave no conversation, 
No joyful tread of friends, no voice of lovers, 
No careful father's counsel nothing's heard, 
For nothing is, but all oblivion, 
Dust, and an endless darkness. 

Suddenly the notes of the deep-laboring organ burst upon the 
ear, falling with doubled and redoubled intensity, and rolling 
as it were, huge billows of sound. How well do their volume 
and grandeur accord with this mighty building ! With what 
pomp do they swell through its vast vaults, and breathe their 
awful harmony through these caves of death, and make the 
silent sepulchre vocal ! And now they rise in triumph and ac- 
clamation, heaving higher and higher their accordant notes, 
and piling sound on sound. And now they pause, and the soft 
voices of the choir break out into sweet gushes of melody ; they 
soar aloft, and warble along the roof, and seem to play about 
these lofty vaults like the pure airs of heaven. Again the peal- 
ing organ heaves its thrilling thunders, compressing air into 
music, and rolling it forth upon the soul. What long-drawn 
cadences ! What solemn sweeping concords ! It grows more 


and more dense and powerful it fills the vast pile, and seems 
to jar the very walls the ear is stunned the senses are over- 
whelmed. And now it is winding up in full jubilee it is rising 
from the earth to heaven the very soul seems rapt away, and 
floated upwards on this swelling tide of harmony ! 

I sat for some time lost in that kind of reverie which a strain 
of music is apt sometimes to inspire : the shadows of evening; 
were gradually thickening round me; the monuments began 
to cast deeper and deeper gloom ; and the distant clock again 
gave token of the slowly waning day. 

I rose, and prepared to leave the abbey. As I descended 
the flight of steps which lead into the body of the buikling, my 
eye was caught by the shrine of Edward the Confessor, and I 
ascended the small staircase that conducts to it, to take from 
thence a general survey of this wilderness of tombs. The 
shrine is elevated upon a kind of platform, and close around it 
are the sepulchres of various kings and queens. From this 
eminence the eye looks down between pillars and funeral tro- 
phies to the chapels and chambers below, crowded with tombs ; 
where warriors, prelates, courtiers, and statesmen lie moulder- 
ing in their " beds of darkness." Close by me stood the great 
chair of coronation, rudely carved of oak, in the barbarous 
taste of a remote and Gothic age. The scene seemed almost 
as if contrived, with theatrical artifice, to produce an effect 
upon the beholder. Here was a type of the beginning and the 
end of human pomp and power ; here it was literally but a step 
from the throne to the sepulchre. Would not one think that 
these incongruous mementos had been gathered together as a 
lesson to living greatness? to show it, even in the moment of 
its proudest exaltation, the neglect and dishonor to which it 
must soon arrive? how soon that crown which encircles its 
brow must pass away ; and it must lie down in the dust and 
disgraces of the tomb, and be trampled upon by the feet of the 
meanest of the multitude? For, strange to tell, even the grave 
is here no longer a sanctuary. There is a shocking levity in 
some natures, which leads them to sport with awful and hal- 
lowed things ; and there are base minds, which delight to re- 
venge on the illustrious dead the abject homage and grovelling 
servility which they pay to the living. The coffin of P^dward 
the Confessor has J3een broken open, and his remains despoiled 
of their funeral ornaments ; the sceptre has been stolen from 
the hand of the imperious Elizabeth, and the effigy of Henry 
the Fifth lies headless. Not a royal monument but bears some 
proof how false and fugitive is the homage of mankind. Some 


are plundered ; some mutilated ; some covered with ribaldry 
and insult all more or less outraged and dishonored ! 

The last beams of day were now faintly streaming through 
the painted windows in the high vaults above me ; the lower 
parts of the abbey were already wrapped in the obscurity of 
twilight. The chapels and aisles grew darker and darker. The 
effigies of the kings faded into shadows ; the marble figures of 
the monuments assumed strange shapes in the uncertain light ; 
the evening breeze crept through the aisles like the cold breath 
of the grave ; and even the distant footfall of a verger, travers- 
ing the Poet's Corner, had something strange and dreary in 
its sound. I slowly retraced my morning's walk, and as I 
passed out at the portal of the cloisters, the door, closing 
with a jarring noise behind me, filled the whole building with 

I endeavored to form some arrangement in my mind of the 
objects I had been contemplating, but found they were already 
falling into indistinctness and confusion. Names, inscriptions, 
trophies, had all become confounded in my recollection, though 
I had scarcely taken my foot from off the threshold. What, 
thought I, is this vast assemblage of sepulchres but a treasury 
of humiliation ; a huge pile of reiterated homilies on the empti- 
ness of renown, and the certainty of oblivion? It is, indeed, 
the empire of Death ; his great shadowy palace ; where he sits 
in state, mocking at the relics of human glory, and spreading 
dust and forgetfuluess on the monuments of princes. How idle 
a boast, after all, is the immortality of a name ! Time is ever 
silently turning over his pages ; we are too much engrossed b}' 
the story of the present, to think of the characters and anec- 
dotes that gave interest to the past ; and each age is a volume 
thrown aside to be speedily forgotten. The idol of to-day 
pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection ; and will, 
in turn, be supplanted by his successor of to-morrow. "Our 
fathers," says Sir Thomas Brown, k ' find their graves in our 
short memories, and sadly tell us how we may be buried in our 
survivors." History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded 
with doubt and controversy ; the inscription moulders from the 
tablet ; the statue falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, 
pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand and their epitaphs, 
but characters written in the dust? What is the security of 
the tomb, or the perpetuity of an embalmment? The remains 
of Alexander the Great have been scattered to the wind, and 
his empty sarcophagus is now the mere curiosity of a museum., 
t; The Egyptian mummies which Cambyses or time hath spared, 


avarice now consumeth ; Mizraim cures wounds, and Pharaoh 
is sold for balsams." 1 

What then is to insure this pile, which now towers above 
me, from sharing the fate of mightier mausoleums? The time 
must come when its gilded vaults, which now spring so loftily, 
shall lie in rubbish beneath the feet ; when, instead of the sound 
of melody and praise, the wind shall whistle through the 
broken arches, and the owl hoot from the shattered tower 
when the garish sunbeam shall break into these gloomy man- 
sions of death ; and the ivy twine round the fallen column ; and 
the fox-glove hang its blossoms about the nameless urn, as if in 
mockery of the dead. Thus man passes away ; his name per- 
ishes from record and recollection ; his history is as a tale that 
is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin. 2 


But is old, old, good old Christmas gone? Nothing but the hair of his good, gray 
old head and beard left? Well, I will have that, seeing I cannot have more of him. 


A man might then behold 

At Christmas, in each hull, 
Good fires to curb tho cold, 

Aud meat for great and small. 
The neighbors were friendly bidden, 

And all had welcome true, 
The poor from the gates were not chidden, 

When this old cap was new. OLD SONG. 

Nothing in England exercises a more delightful spell over 
my imagination than the lingerings of the holiday customs 
and rural games of former times. They recall the pictures 
my fancy used to draw in the May morning of life, when 
as yet I only knew the world through books, and believed it to 
be all that poets had painted it ; and they bring with them the 
flavor of those honest days of yore, in which, perhaps with 
equal fallacy, I am apt to think the world was more home- 
bred, social, and jo} r ous than at present. I regret to say that 
they are daily growing more and more faint, being gradually 
worn away by time, but still more obliterated by modem 
fashion. They resemble those picturesque morsels of Gothic 

! Sir Thoma< Brown. 
- Appendix, I\(;le -4, 


architecture, which we see crumbling in various parts of the 
country, partly dilapidated by the waste of ages, and partly 
lost in the additions and alterations of later days. Poetry, 
however, clings with cherishing fondness about the rural game 
and holiday revel, from which it has derived so many of its 
themes as the ivy winds its rich foliage about the Gothic arch 
and mouldering tower, gratefully repaying their support, by 
clasping together their tottering remains, and, as it were, em- 
balming them in verdure. 

Of all the old festivals, however, that of Christmas awakens 
the strongest and most heartfelt associations. There is a tone 
of solemn and sacred feeling that blends with out conviviality, 
and lifts the spirit to a state of hallowed and elevated enjoy- 
ment. The services of the church about this season are ex- 
tremely tender and inspiring : they dwell on the beautiful storey 
of the origin of our faith, and the pastoral scenes that accom- 
panied its announcement : they gradually increase in fervor and 
pathos during the season of Advent, until the} T break forth in 
full jubilee on the morning that brought peace and good-will 
to men. I do not know a grander effect of music on the moral 
feelings than to hear the full choir and the pealing organ per- 
forming a Christmas anthem in a cathedral, and filling every 
part of the vast pile with triumphant harmony. 

It is a beautiful arrangement, also, derived from days of 
yore, that this festival, which commemorates the announcement 
of the religion of peace and love, has been made the season 
for gathering together of family connections, and drawing closer 
again those bands of kindred hearts, which the cares and pleas- 
ures and sorrows of the world are continually operating to 
cast loose ; of calling back the children of a family, who have 
launched forth in life, and wandered widely asunder, once more 
to assemble about the paternal hearth, that rallying-place of 
the affections, there to grow young and loving again among the 
endearing mementos of childhood. 

There is something in the very season of the year, that gives 
a charm to the festivity of Christmas. At other times, we de- 
rive a great portion of our pleasures from the mere beauties of 
Nature. Our feelings sally forth and dissipate themselves over 
the sunny landscape, and we " live abroad and everywhere." 
The song of the bird, the murmur of the stream, the breathing 
fragrance of spring, the soft voluptuousness of summer, the 
golden pomp of autumn ; earth with its mantle of refreshing 
green, and heaven with its deep delicious blue and its cloudy 
magnificence, all fill us with mute but exquisite delight, and 


we revel in the luxury of mere sensation. But in the depth of 
winter, when Nature lies despoiled of every charm, and wrapped 
in her shroud of sheeted snow, we turn for our gratifications to 
moral sources. The dreariness and desolation of the landscape, 
the short gloomy days and darksome nights, while they circum- 
scribe our wanderings, shut in our feelings also from rambling 
abroad, and make us more keenly disposed for the pleasures 
of the social circle. Our thoughts are more concentrated ; our 
friendly sympathies more aroused. We feel more sensibly the 
charm of each other's society, and are brought more closely 
together by dependence on each other for enjoyment. Heart 
calleth unto heart, and we draw our pleasures from the deep 
wells of loving-kindness which lie in the quiet recesses of our 
bosoms ; and which, when resorted to, furnish forth the pure 
element of domestic felicity. 

The pitchy gloom without makes the heart dilate on entering 
the room filled with the glow and warmth of the evening fire. 
The ruddy blaze diffuses an artificial summer and sunshine 
through the room, and lights up each countenance into a kind- 
lier welcome. Where does the honest face of hospitality ex- 
pand into a broader and more cordial smile where is the shy 
glance of love more sweetly eloquent than by the winter fire- 
side ? and as the hollow blast of wintry wind rushes through 
the hall, claps the distant door, whistles about the casement, 
and rumbles down the chimney, what can be more grateful 
than that feeling of sober and sheltered security, with which 
we look round upon the comfortable chamber, and the scene of 
domestic hilarity? 

The English, from the great prevalence of rural habits 
throughout every class of society, have always been fond of 
those festivals and holidays which agreeably interrupt the 
stillness of country life ; and they were in former days particu- 
larly observant of the religious and social rights of Christmas. 
It is inspiring to read even the dry details which some anti- 
quaries have given of the quaint humors, the burlesque pageants, 
the complete abandonment to mirth and good-fellowship, with 
which this festival was celebrated. It seemed to throw open 
every door, and unlock every heart. It brought the peasant 
and the peer together, and blended all ranks in one warm gen- 
erous flow of joy and kindness. The old halls of castles and 
manor-houses resounded with the harp and the Christmas carol, 
and their ample boards groaned under the weight of hospitality. 
Even the poorest cottage welcomed the festive season with 
green decorations of bay and holly the cheerful fire glanced 


its rays through the lattice, inviting the passengers to raise the 
latch, and join the gossip knot huddled round the hearth, be- 
guiling the long evening with legendary jokes, and oft-told 
Christmas tales. 

One of the least pleasing effects of modern refinement is the 
havoc it has made among the hearty old holiday customs. It 
has completely taken off the sharp touchings and spirited reliefs 
of these embellishments of life, and has worn down society into 
a more smooth and polished, but certainly a less characteristic 
surface. Many of the games and ceremonials of Christmas 
have entirely disappeared, and, like the sherris sack of old Fal- 
staff, are become matters of speculation and dispute among 
commentators. They flourished in times full of spirit and lusti- 
hood, when men enjoyed life roughly, but heartily and vigor- 
ously : times wild and picturesque, which have furnished poetry 
witli its richest materials, and the drama with its most attrac- 
tive variety of characters and manners. The world has become 
more worldly. There is more of dissipation and less of enjoy- 
ment. Pleasure has expanded into a broader, but a shallower 
stream, and has forsaken many of those deep and quiet chan- 
nels, where it flowed sweetly through the calm bosom of domes- 
tic life. Society has acquired a more enlightened and elegant 
tone ; but it has lost many of its strong local peculiarities, its 
homebred feelings, its honest fireside delights. The tradition- 
ary customs of golden-hearted antiquity, its feudal hospitalities, 
and lordly wassailings, have passed away with the baronial 
castles and stately manor-houses in which they were celebrated. 
They comported with the shadowy hall, the great oaken galleiy, 
and the tapestried parlor, but are unfitted to the light showy 
saloons and gay drawing-rooms of the modern villa. 

Shorn, however, as it is, of its ancient and festive honors, 
Christmas is still a period of delightful excitement in England. 
It is gratifying to see that home feeling completely aroused 
which holds so powerful a place in every English bosom. The 
preparations making on every side for the social board that is 
again to unite friends and kindred the presents of good cheer 
passing and repassing, those tokens of regard and quickeners 
of kind feelings the evergreens distributed about houses and 
churches, emblems of peace and gladness all these have the 
most pleasing effect in producing fond associations, and kin- 
dling benevolent sympathies. Even the sound of the waits, rude 
as may be their minstrelsy, breaks upon the midwatches of a 
winter night with the effect of perfect harmony. As I have 
been awakened by them in that still and solemn hour " when 


deep sleep falleth upon man," I have listened with a hushed 
delight, and connecting them with the sacred and joyous occa- 
sion, have almost fancied them into another celestial choir, 
announcing peace and good-will to mankind. How delightfully 
the imagination, when wrought upon by these moral influences, 
turns every thing to melody and beauty ! The very crowing of 
the cock, heard sometimes in the profound repose of the coun- 
try, "telling the his feathery dames," was 
thought by the common people to announce the approach of this 
sacred festival : 

" Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes 
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, 
This bird of dawning singeth all night long : 
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad; 
The nights are wholesome then no planets strike, 
No fairy takes, no witch hath power to charm, 
So hallowed and so gracious is the time." 

Amidst the general call to happiness, the bustle of the spirits, 
and stir of the affections, which prevail at this period, what 
bosom can remain insensible? It is, indeed, the season of 
regenerated feeling the season for kindling not merely the 
fire of hospitality in the hall, but the genial flame of charity in 
the heart. The scene of early love again rises green to mem- 
ory beyond the sterile waste of years, and the idea of home, 
fraught with the fragrance of home-dwelling joys, reanimates 
the drooping spirit as the Arabian breeze will sometimes 
waft the freshness of the distant fields to the weary pilgrim of 
the desert. 

Stranger and sojourner as I am in the land though for me 
no social hearth may blaze, no hospitable roof throw open its 
doors, nor the warm grasp of friendship welcome me at the 
threshold yet I feel the influence of the season beaming into 
my soul from the happy looks of those around me. Surely 
happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven ; and every 
countenance bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent 
enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the rays of a 
supreme and ever-shining benevolence. He who can turn 
churlishly away from contemplating the felicity of his fellow- 
beings, and can sit down darkling and repining in his lone- 
liness when all around is joyful, may have his moments of 
strong excitement and selfish gratification, but he wants the 
genial and social sympathies which constitute the charm of a 
merry Christmas. 



Omne benfe 

Sine poena 
Tempus est ludendi 

Venit hora 

Absque mora 
Librob deponendi. 


IN the preceding paper, I have made some general observa- 
tions on the Christmas festivities of England, and am tempted 
to illustrate them by some anecdotes of a Christmas passed 
in the country ; in perusing which, I would most courteously 
invite my reader to lay aside the austerity of wisdom, and to 
put on that genuine holiday spirit, which is tolerant of folly 
and anxious only for amusement. 

In the course of a December tour in Yorkshire, I rode for a 
long distance in one of the public coaches, on the day preced- 
ing Christmas. The coach was crowded, both inside and out, 
with passengers, who, by their talk, seemed principally bound 
to the mansions of relations or friends, to eat the Christmas 
dinner. It was loaded also with hampers of game, and baskets 
and boxes of delicacies ; and hares hung dangling their long 
ears about the coachman's box, presents from distant friends 
for the impending feast. I had three fine rosy-cheeked boys 
for my fellow-passengers inside, full of the buxom health and 
manly spirit which I have observed in the children of this 
country. They were returning home for the holidays, in 
high glee, and promising * themselves a world of enjoyment. 
It was delightful to hear the gigantic plans of the little 
rogues, and the impracticable feats they were to perform dur- 
ing their six weeks' emancipation from the abhorred thraldom 
of book, birch, and pedagogue. They were full of antici- 
pations of the meeting with the family and household, down to 
the very cat and dog ; and of the joy they were to give their 
little sisters, by the presents with which their pockets were 
crammed ; but the meeting to which they seemed to look for- 
ward with the greatest impatience was with Bantam, which I 
found to be a pony, and, according to their talk, possessed of 
more virtues than any steed since the days of Bucephalus. 
How he could trot ! how he could run ! and then such leaps as 


he would take there was not a. hedge in the whole country 
that he could not clear. 

They were under the particular guardianship of the coach- 
man, to whom, whenever an opportunity presented, they ad- 
dressed a host of questions, and pronounced him one of the 
best fellows in the world. Indeed, I could not but notice 
the more than ordinary air of bustle and importance of the 
Coachman, who wore his hat a little on one side, and had a large 
bunch of Christmas greens stuck in the button-hole of his coat. 
He is always a personage full of mighty care and business ; 
but he is particularly so during this season, having so many 
commissions to execute in consequence of the great interchange 
of presents. And here, perhaps, it may not be unacceptable 
to my untravelled readers, to have a sketch that may serve as a 
general representation of this very numerous and important class 
of functionaries, who have a dress, a manner, a language, an 
air, peculiar to themselves, and prevalent throughout the fra- 
ternity ; so that, wherever an English stage-coachman may be 
seen, he cannot be mistaken for one of any other craft or mystery. 

He has commonly a broad full face, curiously mottled with 
red, as if the blood had been forced by hard feeding into every 
vessel of the skin ; he is swelled into jolly dimensions by fre- 
quent potations of malt liquors, and his bulk is still further 
increased by a multiplicity of coats, in which he is buried like 
a cauliflower, the upper one reaching to his heels. He wears a 
broad-brimmed low-crowned hat, a huge roll of colored hand- 
kerchief about his neck, knowingly knotted and tucked in at 
the bosom ; and has in summer-time a large bouquet of flowers in 
his button-hole, the present, most probably, of some enamoured 
country lass. His waistcoat is commonly of some bright color, 
striped, and his small-clothes extend far below the knees, to meet 
a pair of jockey boots which reach about half-way up his legs. 

All this costume is maintained with much precision ; he has 
a pride in having his clothes of excellent materials, and, not- 
withstanding the seeming grossness of his appearance, there is 
still discernible that neatness and propriety of person, which 
is almost inherent in an Englishman. He enjoys great conse- 
quence and consideration along the road ; has frequent con- 
ferences with the village housewives, who look upon him as a 
man of great trust and dependence ; and he seems to have a 
good understanding with every bright-eyed country lass. The 
moment he arrives where the horses are to be changed, he 
throws down the reins with something of an air, and abandons 
the cattle to the care of the hostler, his duty being merely to 


drive from one stage to another. When off the box, his hands 
are thrust into the pockets of his great-coat, and he rolls about 
the inn-yard with an air of the most absolute lordliness. 
Here he is generally .surrounded by an admiring throng of hos- 
tlers, stable-boys, shoeblacks, and those nameless hangers-on, 
that infest inns and taverns, and run errands, and do all kind 
of odd jobs, for the privilege of battening on the drippings of 
,the kitchen and the leakage of the tap-room. These all look 
up to him as to an oracle ; treasure up his cant phrases ; echo 
his opinions about horses and other topics of jockey lore ; and, 
above all, endeavor to imitate his air and carriage. Every rag- 
amuffin that has a coat to his back, thrusts his hands in the 
pockets, rolls in his gait, talks slang, and is an embryo Coachey. 

Perhaps it might be owing to the pleasing serenity that 
reigned in my own mind, that I fancied I saw cheerfulness in 
every countenance throughout the journey. A Stage-Coach, 
however, carries animation always with it, and puts the world 
in motion as it whirls along. The horn, sounded at the en- 
trance of a village, produces a general bustle. Some hasten 
forth to meet friends ; some with bundles and band-boxes to 
secure places, and in the hurry of the moment can hardly take 
leave of the group that accompanies them. In the mean time, 
the coachman has a world of small commissions to execute. 
Sometimes he delivers a hare or pheasant ; sometimes jerks a 
small parcel or newspaper to the door of a public house ; and 
sometimes, with knowing leer and words of sly import, hands 
to some half-blushing, half-laughing housemaid, an odd-shaped 
billet-doux from some rustic admirer. As the coach rattles 
through the village, every one runs to the window, and you 
have glances on every side of fresh country faces, and bloom- 
ing giggling girls. At the corners are assembled juntos of vil- 
lage idlers and wise men, who take their stations there for the 
important purpose of seeing company pass : but the sagest 
knot is generally at the blacksmith's, to whom the passing of 
the coach is an event fruitful of much speculation. The smith, 
with the horse's heel in his lap, pauses as the vehicle whirls 
by ; the cyclops round the anvil suspend their ringing hammers, 
and suffer the iron to grow cool ; and the sooty spectre in brown 
paper cap, laboring at the bellows, leans on the handle for a 
moment, and permits the asthmatic engine to heave a long- 
drawn sigh, while he glares through the murky smoke and sul- 
phureous gleams of the smithy. 

Perhaps the impending holiday might have given a more 
than usual animation to the country, for it seemed to me as if 


everybody was in good looks and good spirits. Game, poul- 
try, and other luxuries of the table, were in brisk circulation in 
the villages ; the grocers', butchers', and fruiterers' shops were 
thronged with customers. The housewives were stirring briskly 
about, putting their dwellings in order ; and the glossy branches 
of holl}', with their bright-red berries, began to appear at the 
windows. The scene brought to mind an old writer's account 
of Christmas preparations. " Now capons and hens, besides 
turkeys, geese, and ducks, with beef and mutton must all 
die for in twelve days a multitude of people will not be fed 
with a little. Now plums and spice, sugar, and honey, square 
it among pies and broth. Now or never must music be in tune, 
for the youth must dance and sing to get them a heat, while 
the aged sit by the fire. The country maid leaves half her 
market, and must be sent again, if she forgets a pack of cards 
on Christmas eve. Great is the contention of Holly and Ivy, 
whether master or dame wears the breeches. Dice and cards 
benefit the butler ; and if the cook do not lack wit, he will 
sweetly lick his fingers." 

I was roused from this fit of luxurious meditation, by a 
shout from my little travelling companions. They had been 
looking out of the coach- windows for the last few miles, recog- 
nizing every tree and cottage as they approached home, and 
now there was a general burst of joy " There's John ! and 
there's old Carlo ! and there's Bantam ! " cried the happy little 
rogues, clapping their hands. 

At the end of a lane, there was an old sober-looking servant 
in livery, waiting for them ; he was accompanied by a super- 
annuated pointer, and by the redoubtable Bantam, a little old 
rat of a pony, with a shaggy mane and long rusty tail, who 
stood dozing quietly by the road-side, little dreaming of the 
bustling times that awaited him. 

I was pleased to see the fondness with which the little fel- 
lows leaped about the steady old footman, and hugged the 
pointer, who wriggled his whole body for joy. But Bantam 
was the great object of interest ; all wanted to mount at once, 
and it was with some difficult}' that John arranged that they 
should ride by turns, and the eldest should ride first. 

Off they set at last ; one on the pony, with the dog bounding 
and barking before him, and the others holding John's hands ; 
both talking at once, and overpowering him with questions 
about home, and with school anecdotes. I looked after them 
with a feeling in which I do not know whether pleasure or 
melancholy predominated ; for I was reminded of those days 


when, like them, I had neither known care nor sorrow, and a 
holiday was the summit of earthly felicity. We stopped a few 
moments afterwards, to water the horses ; and on resuming our 
route, a turn of the road brought us in sight of a neat country- 
seat. I could just distinguish the forms of a lady and two 
young girls in the portico, and I saw my little comrades, with 
Bantam, Carlo, and old John, trooping along the carriage road. 
I leaned out of the coach-window, in hopes of witnessing the 
happy meeting, but a grove of trees shut it from my sight. 

In the evening we reached a village where I had determined 
to pass the night. As we drove into the great gateway of the 
inn, I saw, on one side, the light of a rousing kitchen fire 
beaming through a window. I entered, and admired, for the 
hundredth time, that picture of convenience, neatness, and 
broad honest enjoyment, the kitchen of an English inn. It 
was of spacious dimensions, hung round with copper and tin 
vessels highly polished, and decorated here and there with a 
Christmas green. Hams, tongues, and flitches of bacon were 
suspended from the ceiling ; a smoke-jack made its ceaseless 
clanking beside the fire-place, and a clock ticked in one corner. 

A well-scoured deal table extended along one side of the kit- 
chen, with a cold round of beef, and other hearty viands, upon 
it, over which two foaming tankards of ale seemed mounting 
guard. Travellers of inferior order were preparing to attack 
this stout repast, whilst others sat smoking and gossiping over 
their ale on two high-backed oaken settles beside the fire. 
Trim housemaids were hurrying backwards and forwards, 
under the directions of a fresh bustling landlady; but still 
seizing an occasional moment to exchange a flippant word, and 
have a rallying laugh, with the group round the fire. The 
scene completely realized Poor Robin's humble idea of the 
comforts of mid-winter : 

Now trees their leafy hats do bare 
To reverence Winter's silver hair; 
A handsome hostess, merry host, 
A pot of ale now and a toast, 
Tobacco and a good coal fire, 
Are things this season doth require. 1 

I had not been long at the inn, when a post-chaise drove up 
to the door. A young gentleman stepped out, and by the light 
of the lamps I caught a glimpse of a countenance which I 
thought I knew. I moved forward to get a nearer view, when 

1 Poor Robin's Almanack, 1684. 


his eye caught mine. I was not mistaken ; it was Frank Brace- 
bridge, a sprightly good-humored young fellow, with whom I 
had once travelled on the continent. Our meeting was ex- 
tremely cordial, for the countenance of an old fellow-traveller 
always brings up the recollection of a thousand pleasant scenes, 
odd adventures, and excellent jokes. To discuss all these in a 
transient interview at an inn, was impossible ; and finding that 
I was not pressed for time, and was merely making a* tour of 
observation, he insisted that I sho.uld give him a day or two at 
his father's country-seat, to which he was going to pass the 
holidays, and which lay at a few miles' distance. " It is better 
than eating a solitary Christmas dinner at an inn," said he, 
"and I can assure you of a hearty welcome, in something of 
the old-fashioned style." His reasoning was cogent, and I 
must confess the preparation I had seen for universal festivity 
and social enjoyment, had made me. feel a little impatient of 
my loneliness. I closed, therefore, at once, with his invitation ; 
the chaise drove up to the door, and in a few moments I was 
on my way to the family mansion of the Bracebridges. 


Saint Francis and Saint Benedight 
Blesse this house from wicked wight; 
From the night-mare and the goblin, 
That is bight good fellow Robin; 
Keep it from all evil spirits, 
Fairies, weezels, rats, and ferrets : 

From curfew-time 

To the next prime. CARTWKIGHT. 

IT was a brilliant moonlight night, but extremely cold ; our 
chaise whirled rapidly over the frozen ground ; the post-boy 
smacked his whip incessantly, and a part of the time his horses 
were on a gallop. u He knows where he is going," said my 
companion, laughing, " and is eager to arrive in time for some 
of the merriment and good cheer of the servants' hall. My 
father, you must know, is a bigoted devotee of the old school, 
and prides himself upon keeping up something of old English 
hospitality. He is a tolerable specimen of what you will rarely 
meet with now-a-days in its purity, the old English country 
gentleman ; for our men of fortune spend so much of their time 
in town, and fashion is carried so much into the country, that 


the strong rich peculiarities of ancient rural life are almost 
polished away. My father, however, from early years, took 
honest Peacham l for his text-book, instead of Chesterfield ; he 
determined in his own mind, that there was no condition more 
truly honorable and enviable than that of a country gentle- 
man on his paternal lands, and, therefore, passes the whole 
of his time on his estate. He is a strenuous advocate for the 
revival o'f the old rural games and holiday observances, and is 
deeply read in the writers, ancient and modern, who have 
treated on the subject. Indeed, his favorite range of reading 
is among the authors who flourished at least two centuries 
since ; who, he insists, wrote and thought more like true Eng- 
lishmen than any of their successors. He even regrets some- 
times that he had not been born a few centuries earlier, when 
England was itself, and had its peculiar manners and customs. 
As he lives at some distance from the main road, in rather a 
lonely part of the country, without any rival gentry near him, 
he has that most enviable of all blessings to an Englishman, an 
opportunity of indulging the bent of his own humor without 
molestation. Being representative of the oldest family in the 
neighborhood, and a great part of the peasantry being his ten- 
ants, he is much looked up to, and, in general, is known simply 
by the appellation of ' The 'Squire ; ' a title which has been 
accorded to the head of the family since time immemorial. I 
think it best to give you these hints about my worthy old 
father, to prepare you for any eccentricittes that might other- 
wise appear absurd." 

We had passed for some time along the wall of a park, and 
at length the chaise stopped at the gate. It was in a heavy 
magnificent old style, of iron bars, fancifully wrought at top 
into flourishes and flowers. The huge square columns that 
supported the gate were surmounted by the family crest. Close 
adjoining was the porter's lodge, sheltered under dark fir trees , 
and almost buried in shrubbery. 

The post-boy rang a large porter's bell, which resounded 
through the still frosty air, and was answered by the distant 
barking of dogs, with which the mansion-house seemed garri- 
soned. An old woman immediately appeared at the gate. As 
the moonlight fell strongly upon her, I had a full view of a lit- 
tle primitive dame, dressed very much in the antique taste, with a 
neat kerchief and stomacher, and her silver hair peeping from 
under a cap of snowy whiteness. She came courtesy ing fo'rth 

Peacham'B Complete Gentleman, 1622. 


with many expressions of simple joy at seeing her young mas- 
ter. Her husband, it see'med, was up at the house, keeping 
Christmas eve in the servants' hall ; they could not do without 
him, as he was the best hand at a song and story in the house- 

My friend proposed that we should alight, and walk through 
the park to the Hall, which was at no great distance, while the 
chaise should follow on. Our road wound through a noble 
avenue of trees, among the naked branches of which the moon 
glittered as she rolled through the deep vault of a cloudless 
sky. The lawn beyond was sheeted with a slight covering of 
snow, which here and there sparkled as the moonbeams caught 
a frosty crystal ; and at a distance might be seen a thin trans- 
parent vapor, stealing up from the low grounds, and threatening 
gradually to shroud the landscape. 

My companion looked round him with transport : ' ' How 
often," said he, " have I scampered up this avenue, on return- 
ing home on school vacations ! How often have I played under 
these trees when a boy ! I feel a degree of filial reverence for 
them, as we look up to those who have cherished us in child- 
hood. My father was always scrupulous in exacting our holi- 
days, and having us around him on family festivals. He used 
to direct and superintend our games with the strictness that 
some parents do the studies of their children. He was very 
particular that we should play the old English games according 
to their original form ; and consulted old books for precedent 
and authority for every ' merrie disport;' yet, I assure you, 
there never was pedantry so delightful. It was the policy of 
the good old gentleman to make his children feel that home was 
the happiest place in the world, and I value this delicious home- 
feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent could bestow." 

We were interrupted by the clamor of a troop of dogs of all 
sorts and sizes, " mongrel, puppy, whelp and hound, and curs 
of low degree," that, disturbed by the ring of the porter's bell 
and the rattling of the chaise, came bounding open-mouthed 
across the lawn. 

The little dogs and all, 

Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me! " 

cried Bracebridge, laughing. At the sound of his voice, the 
bark was changed into a } 7 elp of delight, and in a moment he 
was surrounded and almost overpowered by the caresses of the 
faithful animals. 

We had now come in full view of the old family mansion, 


partly thrown in deep shadow, and partly lit up by the cold 
moonshine. It was an irregular building of some magnitude, 
and seemed to be of the architecture of different periods. One 
wing was evidently very ancient, with heavy stone-shafted bow 
windows jutting out and overrun with ivy, from among the 
foliage of which the small diamond-shaped panes of glass glit- 
tered with the moon-beams. The rest of the house was in the 
French taste of Charles the Second's time, having been repaired 
and altered, as my friend told me, by one of his ancestors, who 
returned with that monarch at the Restoration. The grounds 
about the house were laid out in the old formal manner of arti- 
ficial flower-beds, clipped shrubberies, raised terraces, and heavy 
stone balustrades, ornamented with urns, a leaden statue or 
two, and a jet of water. The old gentleman, I was told, was 
extremely careful to preserve this obsolete finery in all its ori- 
ginal state. He admired this fashion in gardening ; it had an 
air of magnificence, was courtly and noble, and befitting good 
old family style. The boasted imitation of nature in modern 
gardening had sprung up with modern republican notions, but 
did not suit a monarchical government it smacked of the lev- 
elling system. I could not help smiling at this introduction of 
politics into gardening, though I expressed some apprehension 
that I should find the old gentleman rather intolerant in his 
creed. Frank assured me, however, that it was almost the only 
instance in which he had ever heard his father meddle with pol- 
itics ; and he believed he had got this notion from a member 
of Parliament, who once passed a few weeks with him. The 
'Squire was glad of any argument to defend his clipped yew 
trees and formal terraces, which had been occasionally attacked 
by modern landscape gardeners. 

As we approached the house, we heard the sound of music, 
and now and then a burst of laughter, from one end of the 
building. This, Bracebridge said, must proceed from the ser- 
vants' hall, where a great deal of revelry was permitted, and 
even encouraged, by the 'Squire, throughout the twelve days of 
Christmas, provided every thing was done conformably to an- 
cient usage. Here were kept up the old games of hoodman 
blind, shoe the wild mare, hot cockles, steal the white loaf, bob- 
apple, and snap-dragon ; the Yule clog, and Christmas candle, 
were regularly burnt, and the mistletoe, with its white berries, 
hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty house-maids. 1 

1 The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens, at Christmas; and the 
young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry 
from the bush. When the berries are all plucked, the privilege ceases. 


So intent were the servants upon their sports, that we had 
to ring repeatedly before we could make ourselves heard. On 
our arrival being announced, the 'Squire came out to receive 
us, accompanied by his two other sons ; one a young officer in 
the army, home on leave of absence ; the other an Oxonian, 
just from the university. The 'Squire was a fine healthy-look- 
ing old gentleman, with silver hair curling lightly round an 
open florid countenance ; in which the physiognomist, with the 
advantage, like myself, of a previous hint or two, might dis- 
cover a singular mixture of whim and benevolence. 

The family meeting was warm and affectionate ; as the even- 
ing was far advanced, the 'Squire would not permit us to 
change our travelling dresses, but ushered us at once to the 
company, which was assembled in a large old-fashioned hall. 
It was composed of different branches of a numerous family 
connection, where there were the usual proportion of old 
uncles and aunts, comfortable married dames, superannuated 
spinsters, blooming country cousins, half-fledged striplings, and 
bright-eyed boarding-school hoydens. They were variously 
occupied ; some at a round game of cards ; others conversing 
round the fireplace ; at one end of the hall was a group of the 
young folks, some nearly grown up, others of a more tender 
and budding age, fully engrossed by a merry game ; and a pro- 
fusion of wooden horses, penny trumpets, and tattered dolls 
about the floor, showed traces of a troop of little fairy beings, 
who, having frolicked through a happy day, had been carried 
off to slumber through a peaceful night. 

While the mutual greetings were going on between young 
Bracebridge and his relatives, I had time to scan the apart- 
ment. I have called it a hall, for so it had certainly been in 
old times, and the 'Squire had evidently endeavored to restore 
it to something of its primitive state. Over the heavy project- 
ing fireplace was suspended a picture of a warrior in armor, 
standing by a white horse, and on the opposite wall hung a 
helmet, buckler, and lance. At one end an enormous pair of 
antlers were inserted in the wall, the branches serving as hooks 
on which to suspend hats, whips, and spurs ; and in the corners 
of the apartment were fowling-pieces, fishing-rods, and other 
sporting implements. The furniture was of the cumbrous 
workmanship of former days, though some articles of modern 
convenience had been added, and the oaken floor had been car- 
peted ; so that the whole presented an odd mixture of parlor 
and hall. 

The grate had been removed from the wide overwhelming 


fire-place, to make way for a fire of wood, in the midst of which 
was an enormous log, glowing and blazing, and sending forth 
a vast volume of light and heat ; this I understood was the yule 
clog, which the 'Squire was particular in having brought in and 
illumined on a Christmas eve, according to ancient custom. 1 

It was really delightful to see the old 'Squire, seated in his 
hereditary elbow-chair, by the hospitable fireside of his ances- 
tors, and looking around him like the sun of a system, beaming 
warmth and gladness to every heart. Even the very dog that 
lay stretched at his feet, as he lazily shifted his position and 
yawned, would look fondly up in his master's face, wag his 
tail against the floor, and stretch himself again to sleep, con- 
fident of kindness and protection. There is an emanation from 
the heart in genuine hospitality, which cannot be described, 
but is immediately felt, and puts the stranger at once at his 
ease. I had not been seated many minutes by the comfortable 
hearth of the worthy old cavalier, before I found myself as 
much at home as if I had been one of the family. 

Supper was announced shortly after our arrival. It was 
served up in a spacious oaken chamber, the panels of which 
shone with wax, and around which were several family por- 
traits decorated with holly and ivy. Beside the accustomed 
lights, two great wax tapers, called Christmas candles, wreathed 
with greens, were placed on a highly polished beaufet among 
the family plate. The table was abundantly spread with sub- 
stantial fare ; but the 'Squire made his supper of frumenty, a 
dish made of wheat cakes boiled in milk with rich spices, being 
a standing dish in old times for Christmas eve. I was happy 
to find my old friend, minced pie, in the retinue of the feast ; 
and finding him to be perfectly orthodox, and that I need not 
be ashamed of my predilection, I greeted him with all the 

1 The yule clog is a great log of wood, sometimes the root of a tree, brought into the 
house with great ceremony, on Christmas eve, laid in the fireplace, and lighted with the 
brand of last year's clog. While it lasted, there was great drinking, singing, and telling 
of tales. Sometimes it was accompanied by Christmas candles; but in the cottages, the 
only light was from the ruddy blaze of the great wood fire. The yule clog was to burn all 
night : if it went out, it was considered a sign of ill luck. 

Herrick mentions it in one of his songs : 

Come bring with a noise, 
My merrie, merrte boys, 
The Christmas Log to the firing; 

While my good dame she 

Bids ye all be free, 
And drink to your hearts desiring. 

The yule clog is still burnt in many farm-houses and kitchens in England, partic- 
ularly in the north; and there are several superstitious connected with it among the 
peasantry. If a squinting person come to the house while it is burning, or a person 
barefooted, it is considered an ill omen. The brand remaining from the yule clog is 
carefully put away to light the next year's Christmas fire. 


warmth wherewith we usually greet an old and very genteel 

The mirth of the company was greatly promoted by the 
humors of an eccentric personage, whom Mr. Braccbridg al- 
ways addressed with the quaint appellation of Master Simon. 
He was a tight brisk little man, with the air of an arrant old 
bachelor. His nose was shaped like the bill of a parrot, his 
face slightly pitted with the small-pox, with a dry perpetual 
bloom on it, like a frost-bitten leaf in autumn. He had an eye 
of great quickness and vivacity, with a drollery and lurking 
waggery of expression that was irresistable. He was evidently 
the wit of the family, dealing very much in sly jokes and innu- 
endoes with the ladies, and making infinite merriment by harp- 
ing upon old themes ; which, unfortunately, my ignorance of 
the family chronicles did not permit me to enjoy. It seemed 
to be his great delight, during supper, to keep a young girl next 
to him in a continual agony of stifled laughter, in spite of her 
awe of the reproving looks of her mother, who sat opposite. 
Indeed, he was the idol of the younger part of the company, 
who laughed at every thing he said or did, and at every turn of 
his countenance. I could not wonder at it ; for he must have 
been a miracle of accomplishments in their eyes. He could 
imitate Punch and Judy ; make an old woman of his hand, 
with the assistance of a burnt cork and pocket handkerchief ; 
and cut an orange into such a ludicrous caricature, that the 
young folks were ready to die with laughing. 

I was let briefly into his history by Frank Bracebridge. He 
was an old bachelor, of a small independent income, which, by 
careful management, was sufficient for all his wants. He re- 
volved through the family system like a vagrant comet in its 
orbit ; sometimes visiting one branch, and sometimes another 
quite remote, as is often the case with gentlemen of extensive 
connections and small fortunes in England. He had a chirping, 
buoyant disposition, always enjoying the present moment ; and 
his frequent change of scene and company prevented his ac- 
quiring those rusty, unaccommodating habits, with which old 
bachelors are so uncharitably charged. He was a complete 
family chronicle, being versed in the genealogy, history, and 
intermarriages of the whole house of Bracebridge, which made 
him a great favorite with the old folks ; he was a beau of all 
the elder ladies and superannuated spinsters, among whom he 
was habitually considered rather a young fellow, and he was 
master of the revels among the children ; so that there was not 
u more popular being in the sphere in which he moved, than 


Mr. Simon Bracebridge. Of late years, he had resided almost 
entirely with the 'Squire, to whom he had become a factotum, 
and whom he particularly delighted by jumping with his hu- 
mor in respect to old times, and by having a scrap of an old 
song to suit every occasion. We had presently a specimen of 
his last-mentioned talent ; for no sooner was supper removed, 
and spiced wines and other beverages peculiar to the season 
introduced, than Master Simon was called on for a good old 
Christmas song. He bethought himself for a moment, and 
then, with a sparkle of the eye, and a voice that was by no 
means bad, excepting that it ran occasionally into a falsetto, 
like the notes of a split reed, he quavered forth a quaint old 
ditty : 

Now Christmas is come, 

Let us beat up the drum, 
And call all our neighbors together; 

And when they appear, 

Let us make them such cheer, 
As will keep out the wind and the weather, etc. 

The supper had disposed every one to gayety, and an old 
harper was summoned from the servants' hall, where he had 
been strumming all the evening, and to all appearance comfort- 
ing himself with some of the 'Squire's home-brewed. He was 
a kind of hanger-on, I was told, of the establishment, and 
though ostensibly a resident of the village, was oftener to be 
found in the 'Squire's kitchen than his own home ; the old gen- 
tleman being fond of the sound of " Harp in hall." 

The dance, like most dances after supper, was a merry one ; 
some of the older folks joined in it, and the 'Squire himself 
figured down several couple with a partner with whom he 
affirmed he had danced at every Christmas for nearly half a 
century. Master Simon, who seemed to be a kind of connect- 
ing link between the old times and the new, and to be withal a 
little antiquated in the taste of his accomplishments, evidently 
piqued himself on his dancing, and was endeavoring to gain 
credit by the heel and toe, rigadoon, and other graces of the 
ancient school ; but he had unluckily assorted himself with a 
little romping girl from boarding-school, who, by Tier wild 
vivacity, kept him continually on the stretch, and defeated all 
his sober attempts at elegance : such are the ill-assorted 
matches to which antique gentlemen are unfortunately prone ! 

The young Oxonian, on the contrary, had led out one of his 
maiden aunts, on whom the rogue played a thousand little 
knaveries with impunity ; he was full of practical jokes, and his 


delight was to tease his aunts and cousins ; yet, like all madcap 
youngsters, he was a universal favorite among the women. The 
most interesting couple in the dance was the young officer, and 
a ward of the 'Squire's, a beautiful blushing girl of seventeen. 
From several shy glances which I had noticed in the course of 
the evening, I suspected there was a little kindness growing up 
between them ; and, indeed, the young soldier was just the hero 
to captivate a romantic girl. He was tall, slender, and hand- 
some ; and, like most young British officers of late years, had 
picked up various small accomplishments on the continent he 
could talk French and Italian draw landscapes sing very 
tolerably dance divinely ; but, above all, he had been wounded 
at Waterloo : what girl of seventeen, well read in poetry and 
romance, could resist such a mirror of chivalry and perfection? 
The moment the dance was over, he caught up a guitar, and 
Jolling against the old marble fireplace, in an attitude which I 
am half inclined to suspect was studied, began the little French 
air of the Troubadour. The 'Squire, however, exclaimed 
against having any thing on Christmas eve but good old English ; 
upon which the young minstrel, casting up his eye for a moment, 
as if in an effort of memory, struck into another strain, and 
with a charming air of gallantry, gave Herrick's " Night-Piece 
to Julia:" 

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee, 
The shooting stars attend thee, 

And the elves also, 

Whose little eyes glow 
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee. 

No Will-o'-the-Wisp mislightthee; 
Nor snake nor slow-worm bite thee ; 

But on, on thy way, 

Not making a stay, 
Since ghost there is none to affright thee. 

Then let not the dark thee cumber; 
What though the moon does slumber, 

The stars of the night 

Will lend thee their light, 
Like tapers clear without number. 

Then, Julia, let me woo thee, 
Thus, thus to come unto me : 

And when I shall meet 

Thy silvery feet, 
My soul I'll pour into thee. 

The song might or might not have been intended in compli- 
ment to the fair Julia, for so I found his partner was called ; 


she, however, was certainly unconscious of any such applica- 
tion ; for she. nevef looked at the singer, but kept her eyes cast 
upon the floor ; her face was suffused, it is true, with a beauti- 
ful blush, and there was a gentle heaving of the bosom, but all 
that was doubtless caused by the exercise of the dance : indeed, 
so great was her indifference, that she amused herself with 
plucking to pieces a choice bouquet of hot-house flowers, and 
by the time the song was concluded the nosegay lay in ruins en 
the floor. 

The party now broke up for the night, with the kind hearted 
old custom of shaking hands. As I passed through the hall on 
my way to my chamber, the dying embers of the yule clog still 
sent forth a dusky glow ; and had it not been the season when 
" no spirit dares stir abroad," I should have been half tempted 
to steal from my room at midnight, and peep whether the fairies 
might not be at their revels about the hearth. 

My chamber was in the old part of the mansion, the ponder- 
ous furniture of which might have been fabricated in the days 
of the giants. The room was panelled, with cornices of heavy 
carved work, in which flowers and grotesque faces were 
strangely intermingled, and a row of black-looking portraits 
stared mournfully at me from the walls. The bed was of rich, 
though faded damask, with a lofty tester, and stood in a niche 
opposite a bow-window. I had scarcely got into bed when a 
strain of music seemed to break forth in the air just below the 
window : I listened, and found it proceeded from a baud, which 
I concluded to be the waits from some neighboring village. 
They went round the house, playing under the windows. I 
drew aside the curtains, to hear them more distinctly. The 
moonbeams fell through the upper part of the casement, par- 
tially lighting up the antiquated apartment. The sounds, as 
they receded, became more soft and aerial, and seemed to accord 
with quiet and moonlight. I listened and listened they be- 
came more and more tender and remote, and, as they gradually 
died away, my head sunk upon the pillow, and I fell asleep. 



Dark and dull night flie hence away, 
And give the honour to this day 
That sees December turn'd to May. 

Why does the chilling winter's morne 

Smile like a field beset with corn? 

Or smell like to a meade new-shorne, 

Thus on the sudden? come and see 

The cause, why things thus fragrant be. HERRICK. 

WHEN I woke the next morning, it seemed as if all the events 
of the preceding evening had been a dream, and nothing but 
the identity of the ancient chamber convinced me of their 
reality. While I lay musing on my pillow, I heard the sound 
of little feet pattering outside of the door, and a whispering 
consultation. Presently a choir of small voices chanted forth 
an old Christmas carol, the burden of which was 

Rejoice, our Saviour he was born 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

I rose softly, slipt on my clothes, opened the door suddenly, 
and beheld one of the most beautiful little fairy groups that a 
painter could imagine. It consisted of a boy and two girls, the 
eldest not more than six, and lovely as seraphs. They were 
going the rounds of the house, and singing at every chamber door, 
but my sudden appearance frightened them into mute bashful- 
ness. They remained for a moment playing on their lips with 
their fingers, and now and then stealing a shy glance from 
under their eyebrows, until, 'as if by one impulse, they scam- 
pered away, and as they turned an angle of the gallery, I heard 
them laughing in triumph at their escape. 

Every thing conspired to produce kind and happy feelings , 
in this stronghold of old-fashioned hospitality. The window 
of my chamber looked out upon what in summer would have 
been a beautiful landscape. There was a sloping lawn, a fine 
stream winding at the foot of it, and a tract of park beyond, 
with noble clumps of trees, and herds of deer. At a distance 
was a neat hamlet, with the smoke from the cottage chimneys 
hanging over it ; and a church, with its dark spire in strong 
relief against the clear cold sk} 7 . The house was surrounded 
with evergreens, according to the English custom, which would 


have given almost an appearance of summer ; but the morning 
was extremely frosty ; the light vapor of the preceding evening 
had been precipitated by the cold, and covered all the trees and 
every blade of grass with its fine crystallizations. The rays of 
a bright morning sun had a dazzling effect among the glittering 
foliage. A robin perched upon the top of a mountain ash, that 
hung its clusters of red berries just before my window, was 
basking himself in the sunshine, and piping a few querulous 
notes ; and a peacock was displaying all the glories of his train, 
and strutting with the pride and gravity of a Spanish grandee 
on the terrace-walk below. 

I had scarcely dressed myself, when a servant appeared to 
invite me to family prayers. He showed me the way to a small 
chapel in the old wing of the house, where I found the princi- 
pal part of the family already assembled in a kind of galleiy, 
furnished with cushions, hassocks, and large prayer-books ; the 
servants were seated on benches below. The old gentleman 
read prayers from a desk in front of the gallery, and Master 
Simon acted as clerk and made the responses ; and I must do 
him the justice to say, that he acquitted himself with great 
gravity and decorum. 

The service was followed by a Christmas carol, which Mr. 
Bracebridge himself had constructed from a poem of his favor- 
ite author Herrick; and it had been adapted to an old church 
melody by Master Simon. As there were several good voices 
among the household, the effect was extremely pleasing ; but I was 
particularly gratified by the exaltation of heart, and sudden 
sally of grateful feeling, with which the worthy 'Squire delivered 
one stanza ; his eye glistening, and his voice rambling out of 
all the bounds of time and tune : 

" Tis thou that crown'st my glittering hearth 

With guiltlesse mirth, 
And givest me Wassaile bowles to drink 
Spiced to the brink : 

Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping hand 

That soiles my land : 
And giv'st me for my bushell sowne, 

Twice ten for one." 

I afterwards understood that early morning service was read 
on every Sunday and saint's day throughout the year, either by 
Mr. Bracebridge or by some member of the family. It was once 
almost universally the case at the seats of the nobility and gen- 


try of England, and it is much to be regretted that the custom 
is falling into neglect ; for the dullest observer must be sensible 
of the order and serenity prevalent in those households, where 
the occasional exercise of a beautiful form of worship in the 
morning gives, as it were, the key-note to every temper for the 
day, and attunes every spirit to harmony. 

Our breakfast consisted of what the 'Squire denominated true 
old English fare. He indulged in some bitter lamentations 
over modern breakfasts of tea and toast, which he censured as 
among the causes of modern effeminacy and weak nerves, and 
the decline of old English heartiness : and though he admitted 
them to his table to suit the palates of his guests, yet there was 
a brave display of cold meats, wine, and ale, on the sideboard. 

After breakfast, I walked about the grounds with Frank 
Bracebridge and Master Simon, or Mr. Simon, as he was called 
by everybody but the 'Squire. We were escorted by a number 
of gentlemen-like dogs, that seemed loungers about the estab- 
lishment ; from the frisking spaniel to the steady old stag-hound 
the last of which was of a race that had been in the family 
time out of mind they were all obedient to a dog- whistle 
which hung to Master Simon's button-hole, and in the midst of 
their gambols would glance an eye occasionally upon a small 
switch he carried in his hand. 

The old mansion had a still more venerable look in the yellow 
sunshine than by pale moonlight ; and I could not but feel the 
force of the 'Squire's idea, that the formal terraces, heavily 
moulded balustrades, and clipped yew trees, carried with them 
an air of proud aristocracy. 

There appeared to be an unusual number of peacocks about 
the place, and I was making some remarks upon what I termed 
a flock of them that were basking under a sunny wall, when I 
was gently corrected in my phraseology by Master Simon, who 
told me that according to the most ancient and approved trea- 
tise on hunting, I must say a muster of peacocks. "In the 
same way," added he, with a slight air of pedantry, " we say 
a flight of doves or swallows, a bevy of quails, a herd of deer, 
of wrens, or cranes, a skulk of foxes, or a building of rooks." 
He went on to inform me that, according to Sir Anthony Fitz- 
herbert, we ought to ascribe to this bird "both understanding 
and glory ; for, being praised, he will presently set up his tail, 
chiefly against the sun, to the intent you may the better behold 
the beauty thereof. But at the fall of the leaf, when his tail 
falleth, he will mourn and hide himself in corners, till his tail come 
again as it was." 


I could not help smiling at this display of small erudition on 
so whimsical a subject ; but I found that the peacocks were 
birds of some consequence at the Hall ; for Frank Bracebridge 
informed me that they were great favorites with his father, who 
was extremely careful to keep up the breed, partly because they 
belonged to chivalry, and were in great request at the stately 
banquets of the olden time ; and partly because they had a 
pomp and magnificence about them highly becoming an old 
family mansion. Nothing, he was accustomed to say, had an 
air of greater state and dignity, than a peacock perched upon 
an antique stone balustrade. 

Master Simon had now to hurry off, having an appointment 
at the parish church with the village choristers, who were to 
perform some music of his selection. There was something 
extremely agreeable in the cheerful flow of animal spirits of the 
little man ; and I confess I had been somewhat surprised at his 
apt quotations from authors who certainly were not in the range 
of every-day reading. I mentioned this last circumstance to 
Frank Bracebridge, who told me with a smile that Master 
Simon's whole stock of erudition was confined to some half-a- 
dozen old authors, which the 'Squire had put into his hands, 
and which he read over and over, whenever he had a studious 
fit ; as he sometimes had on a rainy day, or a long winter even- 
ing. Sir Anthony Fitzherbert's Book of Husbandry ; Mark- 
ham's Country Contentments ; the Tretyse of Hunting, by Sir 
Thomas Cockayne, Knight ; Izaak Walton's Angler, and two 
or three more such ancient worthies of the pen, were his stand- 
ard authorities ; and, like all men who know but a few books, 
he looked up to them with a kind of idolatry, and quoted them 
on all occasions. As to his songs, they were chiefly picked out 
of old books in the 'Squire's library, and adapted to tunes that 
were popular among the choice spirits of the last century. His 
practical application of scraps of literature, however, had caused 
him to be looked upon as a prodigy of book-knowledge by all 
the grooms, huntsmen, and small sportsmen of the neighbor- 

While we were talking, we heard the distant toll of the village 
bell, and I was told that the 'Squire was a little particular in 
having his household at church on a Christmas morning ; con- 
sidering it a day of pouring out of thanks and rejoicing ; for, 
as old Tusser observed, 

" At Christmas be merry, and thankful withal, 
And feast thy poor neighbors, the great with the small.' 


" If you are disposed to go to church," said Frank Brace- 
bridge, " I can promise you a specimen of my cousin Simon's 
musical achievements. As the church is destitute of an organ, 
he has formed a band from the village amateurs, and estab- 
lished a musical club for their improvement ; he has also sorted 
a choir, as he sorted my father's pack of hounds, according to 
the directions of Jervaise Markham, in his Country Content- 
ments ; for the bass he has sought out all the ' deep, solemn 
mouths,' and for the tenor the ' loud ringing mouths,' am on n; 
the country bumpkins ; and for ' sweet mouths,' he has culled 
with curious taste among the prettiest lasses in the neighbor- 
hood ; though these last, he affirms, are the most difficult to 
keep in tune ; your pretty female singer being exceedingly 
wayward and capricious, and very liable to accident." 

As the morning, though frosty, was remarkably fine and 
clear, the most of the family walked to the church, which was a 
very old building of gray stone, and stood near a village, about 
half a mile from the park gate. Adjoining it was a low snug 
parsonage, which seemed coeval with the church. The front 
of it was perfectly matted with a yew tree, that had been trained 
against its walls, through the dense foliage of which, apertures 
had been formed to admit light into the small antique lattices. 
As we passed this sheltered nest, the parson issued forth and 
preceded us. 

I had expected to see a sleek well-conditioned pastor, such 
as is often found in a snug living in the vicinity of a rich pa- 
tron's table, but I was disappointed. The parson was a little, 
meagre, black-looking man, with a grizzled wig that was too 
wide, and stood off from each ear ; so that his head seemed to 
have shrunk away within it, like a dried filbert in its shell. He 
wore a rusty coat, with great skirts, and pockets that would 
have held the church Bible and prayer-book : and his small legs 
seemed still smaller, from being planted in large shoes, deco- 
rated with enormous buckles. 

I was informed by Frank Bracebridge that the parson had 
been a chum of his father's at Oxford, and had received this 
living shortly after the latter had come to his estate. He was 
a complete black-letter hunter, and would scarcely read a work 
printed in the Roman character. The editions of Caxton and 
Wynkin de Worde were his delight ; and he was indefatigable 
in his researches after such old English writers as have fallen 
into oblivion from their worthlessness. In deference, perhaps, 
to the notions of Mr. Bracebridge, he had made diligent inves- 
tigations into the festive rites and holiday customs of former 


times ; and had been as zealous in the inquiry, as if he had been 
a boon companion ; but it .was merely with that plodding spirit 
with which men of adust temperament follow up any track of 
study, merely because it is denominated learning ; indifferent 
to its intrinsic nature, whether it be the illustration of the wis- 
dom, or of the ribaldry and obscenity of antiquity. He had 
pored over these old volumes so intensely, that they seemed to 
have been reflected in his countenance ; which, if the face be 
indeed an index of the mind, might be compared to a title-page 
of black-letter. 

On reaching the church-porch, we found the parson rebuking 
the gray-headed sexton for having used mistletoe among the 
greens with which the church was decorated. It was, he ob- 
served, an unholy plant, profaned by having been used by the 
Druids in their mystic ceremonies ; and though it might be in- 
nocently employed in the festive ornamenting of halls and 
kitchens, yet it had been deemed by the Fathers of the Church 
as unhallowed, and totally unfit for sacred purposes. So tena- 
cious was he on this point, that the poor sexton was obliged to 
strip down a great part of the humble trophies of his taste, 
before the parson would consent tonter upon the service of the 

The interior of the church was venerable, but simple ; on the 
walls were several mural monuments of the Bracebridges, and 
just beside the altar, was a tomb of ancient workmanship, on 
which lay the effigy of a warrior in armor, with his legs 
crossed, a sign of his having been a crusader. I was told it 
was one of the family who had signalized himself in the Holy 
Land, and the same whose picture hung over the fireplace in 
the hall. 

During service, Master Simon stood up in the pew, and re- 
peated the responses very audibly ; evincing that kind of cere- 
monious devotion punctually observed by a gentleman of the 
old school, and a man of old family connections. I observed, 
too, that he turned over the leaves of a folio prayer-book with 
something of a flourish, possibly to show off an enormous seal- 
ring which enriched one of his fingers, and which had the look 
of a family relic. But he was evidently most solicitous about 
the musical part of the service, keeping his eye fixed intently 
on the choir, and beating time with much gesticulation and 

The orchestra was in a small gallery, and presented a most 
whimsical grouping of heads, piled one above the other, among 
which I particularly noticed that of the village tailor, a pale 


fellow with a retreating forehead and chin, who played on the 
clarionet, and seemed to have blown his face to a point : and 
there was another, a short pursy man, stooping and laboring 
at a bass viol, so as to show nothing but the top of a round bald 
head, like the egg of an ostrich. There were two or three pretty 
faces among the female singers, to which the keen air of a 
frosty morning had given a bright rosy tint : but the gentlemen 
choristers had evidently been chosen, like old Cremona fiddles, 
more for tone than looks ; and as several had to sing from the 
same book, there were clusterings of odd physiognomies, not 
unlike those groups of cherubs we sometimes see on country 

The usual services of the choir were managed tolerably well, 
the vocal parts generally lagging a little behind the instrumen- 
tal, and some loitering fiddler now and then making up for lost 
time by travelling over a passage with prodigious celerity, and 
clearing more bars than the keenest fox-hunter, to be in at the 
death. But the great trial was an anthem that had been pre-. 
pared and arranged by Master Simon, and on which he had 
founded great expectation. Unluckily there was a blunder at 
the very outset the musicians became flurried ; Master Simon 
was in a fever ; every thing went on lamely and irregularly, 
until they came to a chorus beginning, " Now let us sing with 
one accord," which seemed to be a signal for parting company : 
all became discord and confusion ; each shifted for himself, and 
got to the end as well, or, rather, as soon as he could ; except- 
ing one old chorister, in a pair of horn spectacles, bestriding 
and pinching a long sonorous nose ; who, happening to stand a 
little apart, and being wrapped up in his own melody, kept on 
a quavering course, wriggling his head, ogling his book, and 
winding all up by a nasal solo of at least three bars' duration. 

The parson gave us a most erudite sermon on the rites and 
ceremonies of Christmas, and the propriety of observing it, not 
merely as a day of thanksgiving, but of rejoicing ; supporting 
the correctness of his opinions by the earliest usages of the 
church, and enforcing them by the authorities of Theophilus of 
Cesarea, St. Cyprian, St. Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and a 
cloud more of Saints and Fathers, from whom he made copious 
quotations. I was a little at a loss to perceive the necessity of 
such a mighty array of forces to maintain a point which no one 
present seemed inclined to dispute ; but I soon found that the 
good man had a legion of ideal adversaries to contend with ; 
having, in the course of his researches on the subject of Christ- 
mas, got completely embroiled in the sectarian controversies of 


the Revolution, when the Puritans made such a fierce assault 
upon the ceremonies of the church and poor old Christmas was 
driven out of the land by proclamation of Parliament. 1 The 
worthy parson lived but with times past, and knew but little 
of the present. 

Shut up among worm-eaten tomes in the retirement of his 
antiquated little study, the pages of old times were to him as 
the gazettes of the day ; while the era of the Revolution was 
mere modern history. He forgot that nearly two centuries had 
elapsed since the fiery persecution of poor mince-pie through- 
out the laud; when plum porridge was denounced as "mere 
popery," and roast beef as anti-Christian; and that Christmas 
had been brought in again triumphantly with the merry court 
of King Charles at the Restoration. He kindled into warmth 
with the ardor of his contest, and the host of imaginary foes 
with whom he had to combat ; he had a stubborn conflict with 
old Prynne and two or three other forgotten champions of the 
Round Heads, on the subject of Christmas festivity ; and con- 
cluded by urging his hearers, in the most solemn and affecting 
manner, to stand to the traditional customs of their fathers, 
and feast and make merry on this joyful anniversary of the 

I have seldom known a sermon attended apparently with 
more immediate effects ; for on leaving the church, the congre- 
gation seemed one and all possessed with the gayety of spirit 
so earnestly enjoined by their pastor. The elder folks gathered 
in knots in the churchyard, greeting and shaking hands ; and 
the children ran about crying, Ule ! Ule ! and repeating some 
uncouth rhymes, 2 which the parson, who had joined us, in- 
formed me had been handed down from days of yore. The 
villagers doffed their hats to the 'Squire as he passed, giving 
him the good wishes of the season with every appearance of 
heartfelt sincerity, and were invited by him to the hall, to take 
something to keep out the cold of the weather ; and I heard 
blessings uttered by several of the poor, which convinced me 

1 From the "Flying Eagle," a small Gazette, published December 24th, 1652 
" The House spent much time this day about the business of the Navy, for settling 
the affairs at sea, and before they rose, were presented with a terrible remonstrance 
against Christmas day, grounded upon divine Scriptures, 2 Cor. v. 16. 1 Cor. xv. 14, 
17; and in honour of the Lord's Day, grounded upon these Scriptures, John xx. 1. 
Rev. i. 10. Psalms, cxviii. 24. Lev. xxiii. 7, 11. Mark, xv. 8. Psalms, Ixxxiv. 10; in 
which Christmas is called Anti Christ's masse, and those Masse-mongers and Papists 
who observe it, etc. In consequence of which Parliament spent some time in consul- 
tation about the abolition of Christmas day, passed orders to that effect, and re- 
solved to sit on the following day which was commonly called Christmas day." 
2 "Ule! Ule! 

Three puddings in a pule; 
Craek nuts and cry ule! " 


that, in the midst of his enjoyments, the worthy old cavalier 
had not forgotten the true Christmas virtue of charity. 

On our way homeward, his heart seemed overflowing with 
generous and happy feelings. As we passed over a rising- 
ground which commanded something of a prospect, the sounds 
of rustic merriment now and then reached our ears ; the 'Squire 
paused for a few moments, and looked around with an air of 
inexpressible benignity. The beauty of the day was of itself 
sufficient to inspire philanthropy. Notwithstanding the frosti- 
ness of the morning, the sun in his cloudless journey had ac- 
quired sufficient power to melt away the thin covering of snow 
from every southern declivity, and to bring out the living green 
which adorns an English landscape even in mid-winter. Large 
tracts of smiling verdure contrasted with the dazzling whiteness 
of the shaded slopes and hollows. Every sheltered bank, on 
which the broad rays rested, yielded its silver rill of cold and 
limpid water, glittering through the dripping grass ; and sent 
up slight exhalations to contribute to the thin haze that hung 
just above the surface of the earth. There was something truly 
cheering in this triumph of warmth and verdure over the frosty 
thraldom of winter ; it was, as the 'Squire observed, an emblem 
of Christmas hospitality, breaking through the chills of cere- 
mony and selfishness, and thawing every heart into a flow. He 
pointed with pleasure to the indications of good cheer reeking 
from the chimneys of the comfortable farm-houses, and low 
thatched cottages. "I love," said he, "to see this day well 
kept by rich and poor ; it is a great thing to have one day in 
the year, at least, when you are sure of being welcome wherever 
you go, and of having, as it were, the world all thrown open to 
you ; and I am almost disposed to join with poor Robin, in his 
malediction on every churlish enemy to this honest festival : 

" Those who at Christmas do repine, 

And would fain hence despatch him, 
May they with old Duke Humphry dine, 
Or else may 'Squire Ketch catch him." 

The 'Squire went on to lament the deplorable decay of the 
games and amusements which were once prevalent at this season 
among the lower orders, and countenanced by the higher ; when 
the old halls of the castles and manor-houses were thrown open 
at daylight ; when the tables were covered with brawn, and beef, 
and humming ale ; when the harp and the carol resounded all 
day long, and when rich and poor were alike welcome to enter 


and make merry. 1 " Our old games and local customs," said 
he, "had a great effect in making the peasant fond of his home, 
and the promotion of them by the gentry made him fond of his 
lord. They made the times merrier, and kinder, and better, 
and I can truly say with one of our old poets, 

' I like them well the curious preciseness 
And all-pretended gravity of those 
That seek to banish hence these harmless sports, 
Have thcust away much ancient honesty.' 

"The nation," continued he, "is altered; we have almost 
lost our simple true-hearted peasantry. They have broken 
asunder from the higher classes, and seem to think their inter- 
ests are separate. They have become too knowing, and begin 
to read newspapers, listen to alehouse politicians, and talk of 
reform. I think one mode to keep them in good-humor in these 
hard times, would be for the nobility and gentry to pass more 
time on their estates, mingle more among the country people, 
and set the merry old English games going again." 

Such was the good 'Squire's project for mitigating public dis- 
content : and, indeed, he had once attempted to put his doctrine 
in practice, and a few years before he had kept open house 
during the holidays in the old st} T le. The country people, how- 
ever, did not understand how to play their parts in the scene of 
hospitality ; many uncouth circumstances occurred ; the manor 
was overrun by all the vagrants of the country, and more beg- 
gars drawn into the neighborhood in one week than the parish 
officers could get rid of in a year. Since then he had contented 
himself with inviting the decent part of the neighboring peas- 
antry to call at the Hall on Christmas day, and with distributing 
beef, and bread, and ale, among the poor, that they might make 
merry in their own dwellings. 

We had not been long home, when the sound of music was 
heard from a distance. A band of country lads, without coats, 
their shirt sleeves fancifully tied with ribbons, their hats deco- 
rated with greens, and clubs in their hands, were seen advan- 
cing up the avenue, followed by a large number of villagers and 
peasantry. They stopped before the hall door, where the music 

1 "An English gentleman at the opening of the great day, i.e. on Christmas day in 
the morning, had all his tenants and neighbors enter his hall by day break. The strong 
beer was broached, and the black jacks went plentifully about with toast, sugar, and 
nutmeg, and good Cheshire cheese. The Hackin (the great sausage) must be boiled by 
day-break, or else two young men must take the maiden (i.e. the cook) by the arms and 
run her round the market place till she is shamed of her laziness." Round about our 
Sea-Coal Fire. 


struck up a peculiar air, and the lads performed a curious and 
intricate dance, advancing, retreating, and striking their clubs 
together, keeping exact time to the music ; while one, whimsi- 
calry crowned with a fox's skin, the tail of which flaunted down 
his back, kept capering round the skirts of the dance, and 
rattling a Christmas-box with many antic gesticulations. 

The 'Squire eyed this fanciful exhibition with great interest 
and delight, and gave me a full account of its origin, which he 
traced to the times when the Romans held possession of the 
island ; plainly proving that this was a lineal descendant of the 
sword-dance of the ancients. u It was now," he said, " nearly 
extinct, but he had accidentally met with traces of it in the 
neighborhood, and had encouraged its revival ; though, to tell 
the truth, it was too apt to be followed up by rough cudgel-play, 
and broken heads, in the evening." 

After the dance was concluded, the whole party was enter- 
tained with brawn and beef, and stout home-brewed. The 
'Squire himself mingled among the rustics, and was received 
with awkward demonstrations of deference and regard. It is 
true, I perceived two or three of the younger peasants, as they 
were raising their tankards to their mouths, when the 'Squire's 
back was turned, making something of a grimace, and giving 
each other the wink ; but the moment they caught my eye they 
pulled grave faces, and were exceedingly demure. With Master 
Simon, however, they all seemed more at their ease. His varied 
occupations and amusements had made him well known through- 
out the neighborhood. He was a visitor at every farm-house 
and cottage ; gossiped with the farmers and their wives ; romped 
with their daughters ; and, like that type of a vagrant bachelor 
the humble-bee, tolled the sweets from all the rosy lips of the 
country round. 

The bashfulness of the guests soon gave way before good 
cheer and affability. There is something genuine and affection- 
ate in the gayety of the lower orders, when it is excited by the 
bounty and familiarity of those above them ; the warm glow of 
gratitude enters into their mirth, and a kind word or a small 
pleasantry frankly uttered by a patron, gladdens the heart of 
the dependant more than oil and wine. When the 'Squire had 
retired, the merriment increased, and there was much joking 
and laughter, particularly between Master Simon and a hale, 
ruddy-faced, white-headed farmer, who appeared to be the wit 
of the village ; for I observed all his companions to wait with 
open mouths for his retorts, and burst into a gratuitous laugh 
before they could well understand them. 


The whole house indeed seemed abandoned to merriment: 
as I passed to my room to dress for dinner, I heard the sound 
of music in a small court, and looking through a window that 
commanded it, I perceived a baud of wandering musicians, with 
pandean pipes and tambourine ; a pretty coquettish housemaid 
was dancing a jig with a smart country lad, while several of 
the other servants were looking on. In the midst of her sport, 
the girl caught a glimpse of my face at the window, and color- 
ing up, ran off with an air of roguish affected confusion. 


Lo, now is come our joyful'st feast! 

Let every man be jolly, 
Eache roome with yvie leaves is drest, 

And every post with holly. 
Now all our neighbours' chimneys smoke, 

And Christmas blocks are burning; 
Their ovens they with bak't meats choke, 
And all their spits are turning. 
Without the door let sorrow lie, 
And if, for cold, it hap to die, 
Wee Me bury 't in a Christmas pye, 
And evermore be merry. WITHERS' Juvenilia. 

I HAD finished my toilet, and was loitering with Frank Brace- 
bridge in the library, when we heard a distant thwacking sound, 
which he informed me was a signal for the serving up of the 
dinner. The 'Squire kept up old customs in kitchen as well as 
hall ; and the rolling-pin struck upon the dresser by the cook, 
summoned the servants to carry in the meats. 

Just in this nick the cook knock'd thrice, 
And all the waiters in a trice 

His summons did obey; 
Each serving man, with dish in hand, 
Marched boldly up, like our train band, 

Presented, and away. 1 

The dinner was served up in the great hall, where the 'Squire 
always held his Christmas banquet. A blazing crackling fire 
of logs had been heaped on to warm the spacious apartment, 
and the flame went sparkling and wreathing up the wide- 

1 Sir-John Suckling. 


mouthed chimney. The great picture of the crusader and his 
white horse had been profusely decorated with greens for the 
occasion ; and holly and ivy had likewise" been wreathed round 
the helmet and weapons on the opposite wall, which I under- 
stood were the arms of the same warrior. I must own, by-the- 
by, I had strong doubts about the authenticity of the painting 
and armor as having belonged to the crusader, they certainly 
having the stamp of more recent days ; but I was told that the 
painting had been so considered time out of mind ; and that, 
as to the armor, it had been found in a lumber-room, and ele- 
vated to its present situation by the 'Squire, who at once deter- 
mined it to be the armor of the family hero ; and as he was 
absolute authority on all such subjects in his own household, 
the matter had passed into current acceptation. A sideboard 
was set out just under this chivalric trophy, on which was a 
displa} T of plate that might have vied (at least in variety) with 
Belshazzar's parade of the vessels of the temple; "flagons, 
cans, cups, beakers, goblets, basins, and ewers ; " the gorgeous 
utensils of good companionship that had gradually accumulated 
through many generations of jovial housekeepers. Before these 
stood the two yule candles, beaming like two stars of the first 
magnitude ; other lights were distributed in branches, and the 
whole array glittered like a firmament of silver. 

We were ushered into this banqueting scene with the sound 
of minstrelsy ; the old harper being seated on a -stool beside 
the fireplace, and twanging his instrument with a vast deal 
more power than melody. Never did Christmas board display 
a more goodly and gracious assemblage of countenances ; those 
who were not handsome, were, at least, happy ; and happiness 
is a rare improver of your hard-favored visage. I always con- 
sider an old English family as well worth studying as a collec- 
tion of Holbein's portraits, or Albert Durer's prints. There 
is much antiquarian - lore to be acquired ; much knowledge of 
the physiognomies of former times. Perhaps it may be from 
having continually before their eyes those rows of old family 
portraits, with which the mansions of this country are stocked ; 
certain it is, that the quaint features of antiquity are often 
most faithfully perpetuated in these ancient lines ; and I have 
traced an old family nose through a whole picture-gallery, 
legitimately handed down from generation to generation, almost 
from the time of the Conquest. Something of the kind was to 
be observed in the worthy company around me. Many of their 
faces had evidently originated in a Gothic age, and been merely 
copied by succeeding generations ; and there was one little girlj 


in particular, of staid demeanor, with a high Roman nose, and 
an antique vinegar aspect, who was a great favorite of the 
'Squire's, being, as he said, a Bracebridge all over, and the very 
counterpart of one of his ancestors who figured in the court 
of Henrx VIII. 

The parson said grace, which was not a short familiar one, 
such as is commonly addressed to the Deity in these unceremo- 
nious days ; but a long, courtly, well-worded one of the ancient 
school. There was now a pause, as if something was expected ; 
when suddenly the butler entered the hall with some degree of 
bustle ; he was attended by a servant on each side with a large 
wax-light, and bore a silver dish, on which was an enormous 
pig's head, decorated with rosemary, with a lemon in its mouth, 
which was placed with great formality at the head of the table. 
The moment this pageant made its appearance, the harper 
struck up a flourish; at the conclusion of which the young 
Oxonian, on receiving a hint from the 'Squire, gave, with an 
air of the most comic gravity, an old carol, the first verse of 
which was as follows : 

Caput apri defero 

Reddens laudes Domino. 
The boar's head in hand bring I, 
With garlands gay and rosemary. 
I pray you all synge merrily 

Qui estis in couvivio. 

Though prepared to witness many of these little eccentrici- 
ties, from being apprised of the peculiar hobby of mine host ; 
yet, I confess, the parade with which so odd a dish was intro- 
duced somewhat perplexed me, until I gathered from the con- 
versation of the 'Squire and the parson, that it was meant to 
represent the bringing in of the boar's head a dish formerly 
served up with much ceremony, and the sound of minstrels} 1 
and song, at great tables on Christmas day. "I like the old 
custom," said the 'Squire, " not merel}' because it is stately 
and pleasing in itself, but because it was observed at the col- 
lege at Oxford, at which I was educated. When I hear the 
old song chanted, it brings to mind the time when I was young 
and gamesome and the noble old college hall and my fel- 
low-students loitering about in their black gowns ; many of 
whom, poor lads, are now in their graves ! " 

The parson, however, whose mind was not haunted by such 
associations, and who was always more taken up with the text 
than the sentiment, objected to the Oxonian's version of the 


carol ; which he affirmed was different from that sung at col- 
lege. He went on, with the dry perseverance of a commenta- 
tor, to give the college reading, accompanied by sundry annota- 
tions ; addressing himself at first to the company at large ; but 
finding their attention gradually diverted to' other talk, and 
other objects, he lowered his tone as his number of auditors 
diminished, until he concluded his remarks in an under voice, 
to a fat-headed old gentleman next him, who was silently en- 
gaged in the discussion of a huge plate-full of turkey. 1 

The table was literally 16aded with good cheer, and presented 
an epitome of country abundance, in this season of overflowing 
larders. A distinguished post was. allotted to "ancient sir- 
loin," as mine host termed it ; being, as he added. " the stand- 
ard of old English hospitality, and a joint of goodly presence, 
and full of expectation." There were several dishes quaintly 
decorated, and which had evidently something traditional in 
their embellishments ; but about which, as I did not like to 
appear over-curious, I asked no questions. 

I could not, however, but notice a pie, magnificently deco- 
rated with peacocks' feathers, in imitation of the tail of that 
bird, which overshadowed a considerable tract of the table. 
This, the 'Squire confessed, with some little hesitation, was a 
pheasant pie, though a peacock pie was certainly the most 
authentical; but there had been such a mortality among the 
peacocks this season, that he could not prevail upon himself to 
have one killed. 2 

1 The old ceremony of serving up the boar's head on Christmas day, is still observed 
in the hall of Queen's College, Oxford. I was favored by the parson with a copy of the 
carol as now sung, and as it may be acceptable to such of my readers as are curious in 
these grave and learned matters, I give it entire : 

The boar's head in hand bear I, 
Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary; 
And I pray you, my masters, be merry, 
Quot estis in convivio. 

Caput apri defero, 

Reddens laudes Domino. 

The boar's head, as I understand, 
Is the rarest dish in all this land, 
Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland 
Let us servire cantico. 
Caput apri defero, etc. 

Our steward hath provided this 
In honour of the King of Bliss, 
Which on this day to be served is 
In Reginensi Atrio. 
Caput apri defero, 
etc., etc., etc 

2 The peacock was anciently in great demand for stately entertainments. Sometimes 
it was made into a pie, at one end of which the head appeared above the crust in all its 


It would be tedious, perhaps, to my wiser readers, who may 
not have that foolish fondness for odd and obsolete things to 
which I am a little given, were I to mention the other make- 
shifts of this worthy old humorist, by which he was endeavor- 
ing to follow up, though at humble distance, the quaint cus- 
toms of antiquity. I was pleased, however, to see the respect 
shown to his whims by his children and relatives ; who, in- 
deed, entered readily into the full spirit of them, and seemed 
all well versed in their parts ; having doubtless been present at 
many a rehearsal. I was amused, too, at the air of profound 
gravity with which, the butler and other servants executed the 
duties assigned them, however eccentric. They had an old- 
fashioned look ; having, for the most part, been brought up in 
the household, and grown into keeping with the antiquated man- 
sion, and the humors of its lord ; and most probably looked 
upon all his whimsical regulations as the established laws of 
honorable housekeeping. 

When the cloth was removed, the butler brought in a huge 
silver vessel, of rare and curious workmanship, which he 
placed before the 'Squire. Its appearance was hailed with 
acclamation ; being the Wassail Bowl, so renowned in Christ- 
mas festivity. The contents had been prepared by the 'Squire 
himself ; for it was a beverage, in the skilful mixture of which 
he particularly prided himself : alleging that it was too ab- 
struse and complex for the comprehension of an ordinary ser- 
vant. It was a potation, indeed, that might well make the 
heart of a toper leap within him ; being composed of the rich- 
est and raciest wines, highly spiced and sweetened, with roasted 
apples bobbing about the surface. 1 

plumage, with the beak richly gilt; at the other end th'e tail was displayed. Such pies 
were served up at the solemn banquets of chivalry, when Knights-errant pledged them- 
selves to undertake any perilous enterprise, whence came the ancient oath, used by Jus- 
tice Shallow, " by cock and pie." 

The peacock was also an important dish for the Christmas feast, and Massinger, in 
his City Madam, gives some idea of the extravagance with which this, as well as other 
dishes, was prepared for the gorgeous revels of the olden times : 
Men may talk of Country Christmasses. 

Their thirty pound butter'd eggs, their pies of carps' tongues : 
Their pheasants drench'd with ambergris; the carcases of three fat wethers bruised 

for gravy to make sauce for a single peacock ! 

1 The Wassail Bowl was sometimes composed of ale instead of wine; with nut- 
meg, sugar, toast, ginger, and roasted crabs; in this way the nut-brown beverage is still 
prepared in some old families, and round the hearths of substantial farmers at 
Christmas. It is also called Lamb's Wool, and is celebrated by Herrick ia Ms Twelfth 
Night : 

Next crowne the bowle full 
With gentle Lamb's Wool, 
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, 
With store of ale too; 
And thus ye must doe 
To make the Wassaile a swinger. 


The old gentleman's whole countenance beamed with a serene 
look of indwelling delight, as he stirred this mighty bowl. 
Having raised it to his lips, with a hearty wish of a merry 
Christmas to all present, he sent it brimming round the board, 
for every one to follow his example according to the primitive 
style; pronouncing it "the ancient fountain of good feeling, 
where all hearts met together." l 

There was much laughing and rallying, as the honest emblem 
of Christmas joviality circulated, and was kissed rather coyly 
by the ladies. When it reached Master Simon, he raised it 
in both hands, and with the air of a boon companion, struck up 
an old Wassail Chanson : 

The brown bowle, 

The merry browii bowle, 

As it goes round about-a, 



Let the world say what it will, 
And drink your fill all out-a. 

The deep canne, 

The merry deep canne, 

As thou dost freely quaff -a, 



Be as merry as a king, 
And sound a lusty laugh-a. 2 

Much of the conversation during dinner turned upon family 
topics, to which I was a stranger. There was, however, a great 
deal of rallying of Master Simon about some gay widow, with 
whom he was accused of having a flirtation. This attack was 
commenced by the ladies ; but it was continued throughout the 
dinner by the fat-headed old gentleman next the parson, with 
the persevering assiduity of a slow hound ; being one of those 
long-winded jokers, who, though rather dull at starting game, 
are unrivalled for their talents in hunting it down. At every 
pause in the general conversation, he renewed his bantering in 
pretty much the same terms : winking hard at me with both 
eyes, whenever he gave Master Simon what he considered a 
home thrust. The latter, indeed, seemed fond of being teased 

1 " The custom of drinking out of the same cup gave place to each having his cup. 
When the steward came to the doore with the Wassel, he was to cry three times, 
Wassel, Wassel, Wassel, and then the chappell (chaplain) was to answer with a 
song." Archce.ologia. 

2 From Poor Robin's Almanack. 


on the subject, as old bachelors are apt to be ; and he took 
occasion to inform me, in an under- tone, that the lady in 
question was a prodigiously fine woman and drove her own 

The dinner-time passed away in this flow of innocent hilarity, 
and though the old hall may have resounded in its time with 
many a scene of broader rout and revel, yet I doubt whether it 
ever witnessed more honest and genuine enjoyment. How easy 
it is for one benevolent being to diffuse pleasure around him ; 
and how truly is a kind heart a fountain of gladness, making 
every thing in its vicinity to freshen into smiles ! The joyous 
disposition of the worthy 'Squire was perfectly contagious; he 
was happy himself, and disposed to make all the world happy ; 
and the little eccentricities of his humor did but season, in a 
manner, the sweetness of his philanthropy. 

When the ladies had retired, the conversation, as usual, be- 
came still more animated : many good things were broached 
which had been thought of during dinner, but which would not 
exactly do for a lady's ear; and though I cannot positively 
affirm that there was much wit uttered, yet I have certainly 
heard many contests of rare wit produce much less laughter. 
Wit, after all, is a mighty tart, pungent ingredient, and much 
too acid for some stomachs ; but honest good-humor is the oil 
and wine of a merry meeting, and there is no jovial companion- 
ship equal to that, where the jokes are rather small and the 
laughter abundant. 

The 'Squire told several long stories of early college pranks 
and adventures, in some of which the parson had been a sharer ; 
though in looking at the latter, it required some effort of imagi- 
nation to figure such a little dark anatomy of a man, into the 
perpetrator of a madcap gambol. Indeed, the two college 
chums presented pictures of what men may be made by their 
different lots in life : the 'Squire had left the university to live 
lustily on his paternal domains, in the. vigorous enjoyment of 
prosperity and sunshine, and had flourished on to a hearty and 
florid old age ; whilst the poor parson, on the contrary, had 
dried and withered away, among dusty tomes, in the silence 
and shadows of his study. Still there seemed to be a spark of 
almost extinguished fire, feebly glimmering in the bottom of 
his soul ; and, as the 'Squire hinted at a sly story of the parson 
and a pretty milk-maid whom the}' once met on the banks of 
the Isis, the old gentleman made an " alphabet of faces," which, 
as far as I could decipher his physiognomy, I verily believe was 
indicative of laughter ; indeed, I have rarely met with an old 


gentleman that took absolute offence at the imputed gallantries 
of his youth. 

I found the tide of wine and wassail fast gaining on the dry 
land of sober judgment. The company grew merrier and 
louder, as their jokes grew duller. Master Simon was in as 
chirping a humor as a grasshopper filled with dew ; his old 
songs grew of a warmer complexion, and he began to talk 
maudlin about the widow. He even gave a long song about 
the wooing of a widow, which he informed me he had gathered 
from an excellent black-letter work entitled " Cupid's Solicitor 
for Love ; " containing store of good advice for bachelors, and 
which he promised to lend me ; the first verse was to this effect : 

He that will woo a widow must not dally, 
He must make hay while the sun doth shine; 

He must not stand with her, shall I, shall I, 
But boldly say, Widow, thou must be mine. 

This song inspired the fat-headed old gentleman, who made 
several attempts to tell a rather broad story of Joe Miller, that 
was pat to the purpose ; but he always stuck in the middle, 
everybody recollecting the latter part excepting himself. The 
parson, too, began to show the effects of good cheer, having 
gradually settled down into a doze, and his wig sitting most 
suspiciously on one side. Just at this juncture we were sum- 
moned to the drawing-room, and I suspect, at the private insti- 
gation of mine host, whose joviality seemed always tempered 
with a proper love of decorum. 

After the dinner-table was removed, the hall was given up to 
the younger members of the family, who, prompted to all kind 
of noisy mirth by the Oxonian and Master Simon, made its old 
walls ring with their merriment, as they played at romping 
games. I delight in witnessing the gambols of children, and 
particularly at this happy holiday season, and could not help 
stealing out of the drawing-room on hearing one of their peals 
of laughter. I found them at the game of blind-man's-buff. 
Master Simon, who was the leader of their revels, and seemed 
on all occasions to fulfil the office of that ancient potentate, the 
Lord of Misrule, 1 was blinded in the midst of the hall. The 
little beings were as busy about him as the mock fairies about 
Falstaff ; pinching him, plucking at the skirts of his coat, and 
tickling him with straws. One fine blue-eyed girl of about thir- 

1 At Christmasse there was in the Kinges house, wheresoever hee was lodged, a 
lorde of misrule, or may ster of merie disporles, and the like had ye in the house of 
every nobleman of honour; or good worshippe, were he spirituall or temporall. STOWE. 


teen, with her flaxen hair all in beautiful confusion, her frolic 
face in a glow, her frock half torn off her shoulders, a complete 
picture of a romp, was the chief tormentor ; and from the shy- 
ness with which Master Simon avoided the smaller game, and 
hemmed this wild little nymph in corners, and obliged her to 
jump shrieking over chairs, I suspected the rogue of being not 
a whit more blinded than was convenient. 

When I returned to the drawing-room, I found the company 
seated round the fire, listening to the parson, who was deeply 
ensconced in a high-backed oaken chair, the work of some 
cunning artificer of yore, which had been brought from the 
library for his particular accommodation. From this vener- 
able piece of furniture, with which his shadowy figure and 
dark weazen face so admirably accorded, he was dealing out 
strange accounts of the popular superstitions and legends of the 
surrounding country, with which he had become acquainted in 
the course of his antiquarian researches. I am half inclined 
to think that the old gentleman was himself somewhat tinc- 
tured with superstition, as men are very apt to be, who live a 
recluse and studious life in a sequestered part of the country, 
and pore over black-letter tracts, so often filled with the mar- 
vellous and supernatural. He gave us several anecdotes of the 
fancies of the neighboring peasantry, concerning the effigy of 
the crusader, which lay on the tomb by the church altar. As 
it was the only monument of the kind in that part of the coun- 
try, it had always been regarded with feelings of superstition 
by the good wives of the village. It was said to get up from 
the tomb and walk the rounds of the churchyard in stormy 
nights, particularly when it thundered : and one old woman 
whose cottage bordered on the churchyard, had seen it through 
the windows of the church, when the moon shone, slowly pa- 
cing up and down the aisles. It was the belief that some wrong 
had been left unredressed by the deceased, or some treasure 
hidden, which kept the spirit in a state of trouble and restless- 
ness. Some talked of gold and jewels buried in the tomb, over 
which the spectre kept watch; and there was a story current 
of a sexton, in old times, who endeavored to break his way to 
the coffin at night ; but just as he reached it, received a violent 
blow from the marble hand of the effigy, which stretched him 
senseless on the pavement. These tales were often laughed 
at by some of the sturdier among the rustics ; yet when night 
came on, there were many of the stoutest unbelievers that 
were shy of venturing alone in the footpath that led across the 


From these and other anecdotes that followed, the crusader 
appeared to be the favorite hero of ghost stories throughout 
the vicinity. His picture, which hung up in the hall, was 
thought by the servants to have something supernatural about 
it : for they remarked that, in whatever part of the hall you 
went, the eyes of the warrior were still fixed on you. The old 
porter's wife, too, at the lodge, who had been born and brought 
up in the family, and was a great gossip among the maid-ser- 
vants, affirmed, that in her young days she had often heard say, 
that on Midsummer eve, when it was well known all kinds of 
ghosts, goblins, and fairies become visible and walk abroad, 
the crusader used to mount his horse, come down from his 
picture, ride about the house, down the avenue, and so to the 
church to visit the tomb ; on which occasion the church door 
most civilly swung open of itself ; not that he needed it for 
he rode through closed gates and even stone walls, and had 
been seen by one of the dairy-maids to pass between two bars of 
the great park gate, making himself as thin as a sheet of paper. 

All these superstitions I found had been very much coun- 
tenanced by the 'Squire, who, though not superstitious him- 
self, was very fond of seeing others so. He listened to every 
goblin tale of the neighboring gossips w r ith infinite gravity, 
and held the porter's wife in high favor on account of her 
talent for the marvellous. He was himself a great reader of 
old legends and romances, and often lamented that he could 
not believe in them ; for a superstitious person, he thought, 
must live in a kind of fairy land. 

Whilst we were all attention to the parson's stories, our ears 
were suddenly assailed by a burst of heterogeneous sounds 
from the hall, in which were mingled something like the clang 
of rude minstrelsy, with the uproar of many small voices and 
girlish laughter. The door suddenly flew open, and a train 
came trooping into the room, that might almost have been 
mistaken for the breaking up of the court of Fairy. That in- 
defatigable spirit, Master Simon, in the faithful discharge of 
his duties as lord of misrule, had conceived the idea of a 
Christmas mummery, or masking ; and having called in to 
his assistance the Oxonian and the young officer, who were- 
equally ripe for any thing that should occasion romping and 
merriment, they had carried it into instant effect. The old 
housekeeper had been consulted ; the antique clothes-presses 
and wardrobes rummaged, and made to yield up the relics of 
finery that had not seen the light for several generations ; the 
younger part of the company had been privately convened 


from parlor and hall, and the whole had been bedizened out, 
into a burlesque imitation of an antique mask. 1 

Master Simon led the van as " Ancient Christmas," quaintly 
apparelled in a ruff, a short cloak, which had very much the 
aspect of one of the old housekeeper's petticoats, and a hat 
that might have served for a village steeple, and must indubi- 
tably have figured in the days of the Covenanters. From under 
this, his nose curved boldly forth, flushed with a frost-bitten 
bloom that seemed the very trophy of a December blast. He 
was accompanied by the blue-eyed romp, dished up as " Dame 
Mince Pie," in the venerable magnificence of a faded brocade, 
long stomacher, peaked hat, and high-heeled shoes. 

The young officer appeared as Robin Hood, in a sporting 
dress of Kendal green, and a foraging cap with a gold tassel. 

The costume, to be sure, did not bear testimony to deep 
research, and there was an evident eye to the picturesque, 
natural to a young gallant in the presence of his mistress. The 
fair Julia hung on his arm in a pretty rustic dress, as " Maid 
Marian." The rest of the train had been metamorphosed in 
various ways. The girls trussed up in the finery of the ancient 
belles of the Bracebridge line, and the striplings be whiskered 
with burnt cork, and gravely clad in broad skirts, hanging 
sleeves, and full-bottomed wigs, to represent the characters of 
Roast Beef, Plum Pudding, and other worthies celebrated in 
ancient maskings. The whole was under the control of the 
Oxonian, in the appropriate character of Misrule ; and I ob- 
served that he exercised rather a mischievous sway with his 
wand over the smaller personages of the pageant. 

The irruption of this motley crew, with beat of drum, ac- 
cording to ancient custom, was the consummation of uproar 
and merriment. Master Simon covered himself with glory by 
the stateliness with which, as Ancient Christmas, he walked a 
minuet with the peerless, though giggling, Dame Mince Pie. 
It was followed by a dance of all the characters, which, from 
its medley of costumes, seemed as though the old family por- 
traits had skipped down from their frames to join in the sport. 
Different centuries were figuring at cross-hands and right and 
left ; the dark ages were cutting pirouettes and rigadoons ; and 
the days of Queen Bess, jigging merrily down the middle, 
through a line of succeeding generations. 

The worthy 'Squire contemplated these fantastic sports, and 

1 Maskings or mummeries, were favorite sports at Christmas, in old times; and 
the wardrobes at halls and manor-houses were often laid under contribution to furnish 
dresses and fantastic disguisings. I strongly suspect Master Simon to have taken the 
idea of his from Ben Jousou's Masque of Christmas. 


this resurrection of his old wardrobe, with the simple relish of 
childish delight. He stood chuckling and rubbing his hands, 
and scarcely hearing a word the parson said, notwithstanding 
that the latter was discoursing most authentically on the an- 
cient and stately dance of the Pavon, or peacock, from which 
he conceived the minuet to be derived. 1 For nry part I was in 
a continual excitement from the varied scenes of whim and in- 
nocent gayety passing before me. It was inspiring to see wild 
eyed frolic and warm-hearted hospitality breaking out from 
among the chills and glooms of winter, and old age throwing off 
his apathy, and catching once more the freshness of youthful 
enjoyment. I felt also an interest in the scene, from the con- 
sideration that these fleeting customs were posting fast into 
oblivion, and that this was, perhaps, the only family in England 
in which the whole of them were still punctiliously observed. 
There was a quaintness, too, mingled with all this revelry, that 
gave it a peculiar zest : it was suited to the time and place ; and 
as the old Manor-house almost reeled with mirth and wassail, it 
seemed echoing back the joviality of long-departed years. 

But enough of Christmas and its gambols : it is time for me 
to pause in this garrulity. Methiuks I hear the questions asked 
by my graver readers, "To what purpose is all this how is 
the world to be made wiser by this talk? " Alas ! is there not 
wisdom enough extant for the instruction of the world ? And 
if not, are there not thousands of abler pens laboring for its 
improvement? It is so much pleasanter to please than to 
instruct to play the companion rather than the preceptor. 

What, after all, is the mite of wisdom that I could throw into 
the mass of knowledge ; or how am I sure that my sagest de- 
ductions may be safe guides for the opinions of others ? But in 
writing to amuse, if I fail, the only evil is in my own disappoint- 
ment. If, however, I can by any lucky chance, in these days 
of evil, rub out one wrinkle from the brow of care, or beguile 
the heavy heart of one moment of sorrow if I can now and 
then penetrate through the gathering film of misanthropy, 
prompt a benevolent view of human nature, and make my 
reader more in good humor with his fellow-beings and himself, 
surely, surely, I shall not then have written entirely in vain. 2 

1 Sir John Hawkins, speaking of the dance called the Pavon, from pavo, a pea- 
cock, says, "It is a grave and majestic dance; the method of dancing it anciently 
was by gentlemen dressed with caps and swords, by those of the long robe in their 
gowns, by the peers in their mantles, and by the ladies in gowns with long trains, 
the motion whereof, in dancing, resembled that of a peacock." History of Music. 

2 Appendix, Note 3, 


[The following modicum of local history was lately put into 
my hands by an odd-looking old gentleman in a small brown 
wig and snuff-colored coat, with whom I became acquainted in 
the course of one of my tours of observation through the centre 
of that great wilderness, the City. I confess that 1 was a little 
dubious at first, whether it was not one of those apocryphal 
tales often passed off upon inquiring travellers like myself; 
and which have brought our general character for veracity into 
such unmerited reproach. On making proper inquiries, how- 
ever, I have received the most satisfactory assurances of the 
author's probity ; and, indeed, have been told that he is actually 
engaged in a full and particular account of the very interesting 
region in which he resides, of which the following may be 
considered merely as a foretaste.] 

[In the author's revised edition the article entitled " London Antiques " has been in- 
serted here, and the above note has been replaced by that on page 293.] 


"What I write is most true ... I have a whole b'ooke of cases lying by me, which It 
I should sette foorth, some grave auntients (within the hearing of Bow bell) would be 
out of charity with me. NASHE. 

In the centre of the great City of London lies a small neigh- 
borhood, consisting of a cluster of narrow streets and courts, 
of very venerable and debilitated houses, which goes by the 
name of LITTLE BRITAIN. Christ Church school and St. Bar- 
tholomew's hospital bound it on the west ; Smithfield and Long 
lane on the north ; Aldersgate-street, like an arm of the sea, 
divides it from the eastern part of the city ; whilst the yawning 
gulf of Bull-and-Mouth-street separates it from Butcher lane, 
and the regions of New-Gate. Over this little territory, thus 
bounded and designated, the great dome of St. Paul's, swelling 
above the intervening houses of Paternoster Row, Amen. Cor- 
ner, and Ave-Maria lane, looks down with an air of motherly 
protection . 

This quarter derives its appellation from having been, in 
ancient times, the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. As Lon- 
don increased, however, rank and fashion rolled off to the west, 
and trade creeping on at their heels, took possession of their 
deserted abodes. For some time, Little Britain became the 
great mart of learning, and was peopled by the busy and pro- 
lific race of booksellers : these also gradually deserted it, 
and, emigrating beyond the great strait of New-Gate-street, 
settled down in Paternoster Row and St. Paul's Church-yard ; 


where they continue to increase and multiply, even at the pres- 
ent day. 

But though thus fallen into decline, Little Britain still bears 
traces of its former splendor. There are several houses, ready 
to tumble down, the fronts of which are magnificently enriched 
with old oaken carvings of hideous faces, unknown birds, beasts 
and fishes ; and fruits and flowers, which it would perplex a 
naturalist to classify. There are also, in Aldersgate-street, 
certain remains of what were once spacious and lordly family 
mansions, but which have in latter days been subdivided into 
several tenements. Here may often be found the family of a 
petty tradesman, with its trumpery furniture, burrowing among 
the relics of antiquated finery, in great rambling time-stained 
apartments, with fretted ceilings, gilded cornices, and enormous 
marble fire-places. The lanes and courts also contain many 
smaller houses, not on, so grand a scale ; but, like your small 
ancient gentry, sturdily maintaining* their claims to equal an- 
tiquity. These have their gable-ends to the street ; great bow- 
windows, with diamond panes set in lead ; grotesque carvings ; 
and low-arched doorways. 1 

In this most venerable and sheltered little nest have I passed 
several quiet }'ears of existence, comfortably lodged in the 
second floor of one of the smallest, but oldest edifices. My 
sitting-room is an old wainscoted chamber, with small panels, 
and set off with a miscellaneous array of furniture. I have a 
particular respect for three or four high-backed, claw-footed 
chairs, covered with tarnished brocade, which bear the marks 
of having seen better days, and have doubtless figured in some 
of the old palaces of Little Britain. They seem to me to keep 
together, and to look down with sovereign contempt upon their 
leathern-bottomed neighbors; as I have seen decayed gentry 
carry a high head among the plebeian society with which they 
were reduced to associate. The whole front of my sitting-room 
is taken up with a bow- window ; on the panes of which are 
recorded the names of previous occupants for many genera- 
tions ; mingled with scraps of very indifferent gentleman-like 
poetry, written in characters which I can scarcely decipher ; 
and which extol the charms of many a beauty of Little Britain, 
who has long, long since bloomed, faded, and passed away. 
As I am an idle personage, with no apparent occupation, and 
pay my bill regularly every week, I am looked upon as the 

1 It is evident that the author of this interesting communication has included in his 
general title of Little Britain, many of those little lanes and courts that belong immedi- 
ately to Cloth Fair, 


only independent gentleman of the neighborhood ; and being 
curious to learn the internal state of a community so apparently 
shut up within itself, I have managed to work my way into all 
the concerns and secrets of the place. 

Little Britain may truly be called the heart's-core of the city ; 
the strong-hold of true John Bullism. It is a fragment of Lon- 
don as it was in its better days, with its antiquated folks and 
fashions. Here flourish in great preservation many of the 
holiday games and customs of yore. The inhabitants most 
religiously eat pancakes on Shrove-Tuesday ; hot-cross-buns on 
Good-Friday, and roast goose at Michaelmas ; they send love- 
letters on Valentine's Da} T ; burn the Pope on the Fifth of No- 
vember, and kiss all the girls under the mistletoe at Christmas. 
Roast beef and plum-pudding are also held in superstitious 
veneration, and port and sherry maintain their grounds as the 
only true English wines all others being considered vile out- 
landish beverages. 

Little Britain has its long catalogue of city wonders, which 
its inhabitants consider the wonders of the world : such as the 
great bell of St. Paul's, which sours all the beer when it tolls ; 
the figures that strike the hours at St. Dunstan's clock ; the 
Monument ; the lions in the Tower ; and the wooden giants in 
Guildhall. They still believe in dreams and fortune-telling ; 
and an old woman that lives in Bull-and- Mouth-street makes a 
tolerable subsistence by detecting stolen goods, and promising 
the girls good husbands. They are apt to be rendered uncom- 
fortable by comets and eclipses ; and if a dog howls dolefully 
at night, it is looked upon as a sure sign of a death in the 
place. There are even many ghost stories current, particularly 
concerning the old mansion-houses ; in several of which it is 
said strange sights are sometimes seen. Lords and ladies, the 
former in full-bottomed wigs, hanging sleeves, and swords, the 
latter in lappets, stays, hoops, and brocade, have been seen 
walking up and down the great waste chambers, on moonlight 
nights ; and are supposed to be the shades of the ancient pro- 
prietors in their court-dresses. 

Little Britain has likewise its sages and great men. One of 
the most important of the former is a tall dry old gentleman, 
of the name of Skryme, who keeps a small apothecary's shop. 
He has a cadaverous countenance, full of cavities and projec- 
tions ; with a brown circle round each eye, like a pair of horn 
spectacles. He is much thought of by the old women, who 
consider him as a kind of conjurer, because he has two or three 
stuffed alligators hanging up in his shop, and several snakes in 



bottles. He is a great reader of almanacs and newspapers, 
and is much given to pore over alarming accounts of plots, con- 
spiracies, fires, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions ; which last 
phenomena he considers as signs of the times. He has always 
some dismal tale of the kind to deal out to his customers, with 
their doses, and thus at the same time puts both soul and body 
into an uproar. He is a great believer in omens and predic- 
tions, and has the prophecies of Robert Nixon and Mother 
Shipton by heart. No man can make so much out of an eclipse, 
or even an unusually dark day ; and he shook the tail of the 
last comet over the heads of his customers and disciples until 
they were nearly frightened out of their wits. He has lately 
got hold of a popular legend or prophecy, on which he has been 
unusually eloquent. There has been a saying current among 
the ancient Sibyls, who treasure up these things, that when 
the grasshopper on the top of the Exchange shook hands with 
the dragon on the top of Bow Church steeple fearful events 
would take place. This strange conjunction, it seems, has as 
strangely come to pass. The same architect has been engaged 
lately on the repairs of the cupola of the Exchange, and the 
steeple of Bow Church ; and, fearful to relate, the dragon and 
the grasshopper actually lie, cheek by jole, in the yard of his 

"Others," as Mr. Skryme is accustomed to say, u may go 
star-gazing, and look for conjunctions in the heavens, but here 
is a conjunction on the earth, near at home, and under our own 
eyes, which surpasses all the signs and calculations of astrolo- 
gers." Since these portentous weathercocks have thus laid 
their heads together, wonderful events had already occurred. 
The good old king, notwithstanding that he had lived eighty-two 
years, had all at once given up the ghost ; another king had 
mounted the throne ; a royal duke had died suddenly another, 
in France, had been murdered ; there had been radical meetings 
in all parts of the kingdom ; the bloody scenes at Manchester 
the great plot in Cato-street ; and, above all, the Queen 
had returned to England ! All these sinister events are re- 
counted by Mr. Skryme with a mysterious look, and a dismal 
shake of the head ; and being taken with his drugs, and asso- 
ciated in the minds of his auditors with stuffed sea-monsters, 
bottled serpents, and his own visage, which is a title-page of 
tribulation, they have spread great gloom through the minds 
of the people in Little Britain. They shake their heads when- 
ever they go by Bow Church, and observe, that they never 
expected any good to come of taking down that steeple, which, 


in old times, told nothing but glad tidings, as the history of 
Whittington and his cat bears witness. 

The rival oracle of Little Britain is a substantial cheesemon- 
ger, who lives in a fragment of one of the old family mansions, 
and is as magnificently lodged as a round-bellied mite in the 
midst of one of his own Cheshires. Indeed, he is a man of no 
little standing and importance ; and his renown extends through 
Huggin lane, and Lad lane, and even unto Aldermanbury. 
His opinion is very much taken in affairs of state, having read 
the Sunday papers for the last half century, together with the 
Gentleman's Magazine, Rapin's History of England, and the 
Naval Chronicle. His head is stored with invaluable maxims, 
which have borne the test of time and use for centuries. It is 
his firm opinion that "-it is a moral impossible," so long as 
England is true to herself, that any thing can shake her : and 
he has much to say on the subject of the national debt ; which, 
somehow or other, he proves to be a great national bulwark 
and blessing. He passed the greater part of his life in the 
purlieus of Little Britain, until of late years, when, having be- 
come rich, and grown into the dignity of a Sunday cane, he 
begins to take his pleasure and see the world. He has there- 
fore made several excursions to Hampstead, Highgate, and 
other neighboring towns, where he has passed whole afternoons 
in looking back upon the metropolis through a telescope, and 
endeavoring to descry the steeple of St. Bartholomew's. Not 
a stage-coachman of Bull-and-Mouth-street but touches his hat 
as he passes ; and he is considered quite a patron at the coach- 
office of the Goose and Gridiron, St. Paul's Churchyard. His 
family have been very urgent for him to make an expedition to 
Margate, but he has great doubts of those new gimcracks the 
steamboats, and indeed thinks himself too advanced in life to 
undertake sea- voyages. 

Little Britain has occasionally its factions and divisions, and 
party spirit ran very high at one time, in consequence of two 
rival " Burial Societies " being set up in the place. One held 
its meeting at the Swan and Horse-Shoe, and was patronized by 
the cheesemonger ; the other at the Cock and Crown, under the 
auspices of the apothecary : it is needless to say, that the latter 
was the most flourishing. I have passed an evening or two at 
each, and have acquired much valuable information as to the 
best mode of being buried ; the comparative merits of church- 
yards ; together with divers hints on the subject of patent iron 
coffins. I have heard the question discussed in all its bearings, 
as to the legality of prohibiting the latter on account of their 


durability. The feuds occasioned by these societies have hap- 
pily died of late; but they were for a long time prevailing 
themes of controversy, the people of Little Britain being ex- 
tremely solicitous of funereal honors, and of lying comfortably 
in their graves. 

Besides these two funeral societies, there is a third of quite 
a different cast, which tends to throw the sunshine of good- 
humor over the whole neighborhood. It meets once a week at 
a little old-fashioned house, kept by a jolly publican of the name 
of Wagstaff, and bearing for insignia a resplendent half -moon, 
with a most seductive bunch of grapes. The old edifice is 
covered with inscriptions to catch the eye of the thirsty way- 
farer ; such as "Truman, Hanbury & Co.'s Entire," "Wine, 
Rum, and Brandy Vaults," " Old Tom, Rum, and Compounds, 
etc." This, indeed, has been a temple of Bacchus and Momus, 
from time immemorial. It has always been in the family of 
the Wagstaffs, so that its history is tolerably preserved by the 
present landlord. It was much frequented by the gallants and 
cavalieros of the reign of Elizabeth, and was looked into now 
and then by the wits of Charles the Second's day. But what 
Wagstaff principally prides himself upon, is, that Henry the 
Eighth, in one of his nocturnal rambles, broke the head of one 
of his ancestors with his famous walking-staff. This, however, 
is considered as rather a dubious and vainglorious boast of the 

The club which now holds its weekly sessions here, goes by 
the name of "the Roaring Lads of Little Britain." They 
abound in old catches, glees, and choice stories, that are tradi- 
tional in the place, and not to be met with in any other part of 
the metropolis. There is a madcap undertaker, who is inimi- 
table at a merry song ; but the life of the club, and indeed the 
prime wit of Little Britain, is bully Wagstaff himself. His 
ancestors were all wags before him, and he has inherited with 
the inn a large stock of songs and jokes, which go with it from 
generation to generation as heir-looms. He is a dapper little 
fellow, with bandy legs and pot belly, a red face with a moist 
merry eye, and a little shock of gray hair behind. At the 
opening of every club night, he is called in to sing his " Con- 
fession of Faith," which is the famous old drinking trowl from 
Gammer Gurton's needle. He sings it, to be sure, with many 
variations, as he received it from his father's lips ; for it has 
been a standing favorite at the Half -Moon and Bunch of Grapes 
ever since it was written ; nay, he affirms that his predecessors 
have often had the honor of singing it before the nobility and 


gentry at Christmas mummeries, when Little Britain was in all 
its glory. 1 

It would do one's heart good to hear on a club-night the 
shouts of merriment, the snatches of song, and now and then 
the choral bursts of half a dozen discordant voices, which issue 
from this jovial mansion. At such times the street is lined 
with listeners, who enjo}' a delight equal to that of gazing into 
a confectioner's window, or snuffing up the steams of a cook- 
shop. ' 

There are two annual events which produce great stir and 
sensation in Little Britain ; these are St. Bartholomew's Fair, 
and the Lord Mayor's day. During the time of the Fair, which 

1 As mine host of the Half-Moon's Confession of Faith may not be familiar to the 
majority of readers, and as it is a specimen of the current songs of Little Britain, I sub- 
join it in its original orthography. I would observe, that the whole club always join in 
the chorus with a fearful thumping on the table and clattering of pewter pots. 

I cannot eate but lytle meate, 

My stomacke is not good, 
But sure 1 thinke that I can driuke 

With him that weares a hood. 
Though I go bare take ye no care, 

I nothing am a colde, 
1 stuff my skyn so full within, 

Of joly good ale and olde. 
Chorus. Backe and syde go bare, go bare, 

Both foote and hand go colde, 
But belly, God send thee good ale ynoughe, 

Whether it be new or olde. 

I have no rost, but a nut brawne toste 

And a crab laid in the f yre ; 
A little breade shall do me steade, 

Much breade I not desyre. 
No frost nor snow, nor winde I trowe, 

Can hurte mee if I wolde, 
I am so wrapt and throwly lapt 

Of joly good ale and olde. 
Chorus. Backe and syde go bare, go bare, etc. 

And tyb my wife, that, as her lyfe, 

Loveth well good ale to seeke, 
Full oft drynkes shee, tyll ye may Bee 

The teares run downe her cheeke. 
Then doth shee trowle to me the bowle, 

Even as a mault-worme eholde, 
And sayth, sweete harte, I took my parte 

Of this joly good ale and olde. 
Chorus. Backe and syde go bare, go bare, etc. 

Now let them drynke, tyll they nod and winke, 

Even as goode fellowes sholde doe, 
They shall not inysse to have the blisse, 

Good ale doth bring men to. 
And all poore eoules that have scowred bowles, 

Or have them lustily trolde, 
God save the lyves of them and their wives, 

Whether they be yonge or olde. 
Chorus. Backe and syde go bare, go bare, etc. 



is held in the adjoining regions of Smithfield, there is nothing 
going on but gossiping and gadding about. The late quiet 
streets of Little Britain are overrun with an irruption of strange 
figures and faces ; every tavern is a scene of rout and revel. 
The fiddle and the song are heard from the tap-room, morning, 
noon, and night ; and at each window may be seen some group 
of boon companions, with half-shut eyes, hats on one side, pipe 
in mouth, and tankard in hand, fondling and prosing, and sing- 
ing maudlin songs over their liquor. Even the sober decorum 
of private families, which I must say is rigidly kept up at other 
times among my neighbors, is no proof against this Saturnalia. 
There is no such thing as keeping maid servants within doors. 
Their brains are absolutely set madding with Punch and the 
Puppet Show ; the Flying Horses ; Signior Polito ; the Fire- 
Eater ; the celebrated Mr. Paap ; and the Irish Giant. The 
children, too, lavish all their holiday money in toys and gilt 
gingerbread, and fill the house with the Liliputian din of drums, 
trumpets, and penny whistles. 

But the Lord Mayor's day is the great anniversar}-. The 
Lord Mayor is looked up to by the inhabitants of Little Britain, 
as the greatest potentate upon earth ; his gilt coach with six 
horses, as the summit of human splendor ; and his procession, 
with all the Sheriffs and Aldermen in his train, as the grandest 
of earthly pageants. How they exult in the idea, that the King 
himself dare not enter the city without first knocking at the gate 
of Temple Bar, and asking permission of the Lord Mayor ; for 
if he did, heaven and earth ! there is no knowing what might 
be the consequence. The man in armor who rides before the 
Lord Mayor, and is the city champion, has orders to cut down 
everybody that offends against the dignity of the city ; and then 
there is the little man with a velvet porringer on his head, who 
sits at the window of the state coach and holds the city sword, 
as lon^ as a pike-staff Od's blood! if he once draws that 
sword, Majesty itself is not safe ! 

Under the protection of this mighty potentate, therefore, the 
good people of Little Britain sleep in peace. Temple Bar is an 
effectual barrier against all internal foes ; and as to foreign in- 
vasion, the Lord Mayor has but to throw himself into the 
Tower, call in the train bands, and put the standing army of 
Beef-eaters under arms, and he may bid defiance to the world ! 

Thus wrapped up in its own concerns, its own habits, and 
its own opinions, Little Britain has long flourished as a sound 
heart to this great fungous metropolis. I have pleased myself 
with considering it as a chosen spot, where the principles of 


sturdy John Bullism were garnered up, like seed-corn, to renew 
the national character, when it had run to waste and degeneracy. 
I have rejoiced also in the general spirit of harmony that pre- 
vailed throughout it ; for though there might now and then be 
a few clashes of opinion between the adherents of the cheese- 
monger and the apothecary, and an occasional feud between 
the burial societies, yet these were but transient clouds, and 
soon passed away. The neighbors met with good-will, parted 
with a sliake of the hand, and never abused each other except 
behind their backs. 

I could give rare descriptions of snug junketing parties at 
which I have been present ; where we played at All-Fours, 
Pope- Joan, Tom-come-tickle-me, and other choice old games : 
and where we sometimes had a good old English country dance, 
to the tune of Sir Roger de Coverley. Once a year also the 
neighbors would gather together, and go on a gypsy party to 
Epping Forest. It would have done any man Is heart good 
to see the merriment that took place here, as we banqueted on 
the grass under the trees. How we made the woods ring with 
bursts of laughter at the songs of little Wagstaff and the merry 
undertaker ! After dinner, too, the young folks would play at 
blindman's-buff and hide-and-seek ; and it was amusing to see 
them tangled among the briers, and to hear a fine romping girl 
now and then squeak from among the bushes. The elder folks 
would gather round the cheesemonger and the apothecary, to 
hear them talk politics ; for they generally brought out a news- 
paper in their pockets, to pass away time in the country. They 
would now and then, to be sure, get a little warm in argument ; 
but their disputes were alwaj's adjusted by reference to a wor- 
thy old umbrella-maker in a double chin, who, never exactly 
comprehending the subject, managed, somehow or other, to 
decide in favor of both parties. 

All empires, however, says some philosopher or historian, 
are doomed to changes and revolutions. Luxury and innova- 
tion creep in ; factious arise ; and families now and then spring 
up, whose ambition and intrigues throw the whole system into 
confusion. Thus in latter days has the tranquillity of Little 
Britain been grievously disturbed, and its golden simplicity of 
manners threatened with total subversion, by the aspiring fam- 
ily of a retired butcher. 

The family of the Lambs had long been among the most 
thriving and popular in the neighborhood : the Miss Lambs 
were the belles of Little Britain, and everybody was pleased 
when old Lamb hatt made money enough to shut up shop, and 


put his name on a brass plate on his door. In an evil hour, 
however, one of the Miss Lambs had the honor of being a lady 
in attendance on the Lady Mayoress, at her grand annual ball, 
on which occasion she wore three towering ostrich feathers on 
her head. The family never got over it ; they were immedi- 
ately smitten with a passion for high life ; set up a one-horse 
carriage, put a bit of gold lace round the errand-boy's hat, and 
have been the talk and detestation of the whole neighborhood 
ever since. They could no longer be induced to play at Pope- 
Joan or blindman's-buff ; they could endure no dances but 
quadrilles, which nobody had ever heard of in Little Britain ; 
and they took to reading novels, talking bad French, and play- 
ing upon the piano. Their brother, too, who had been articled 
to an attorney, set up for a dandy and a critic, characters 
hitherto unknown in these parts ; and he confounded the worthy 
folks exceedingly by talking about Kean, the Opera, and the 
Edinburgh Review. 

What was still worse, the Lambs gave a grand ball, to which 
they neglected to invite any of their old neighbors ; but they 
had a great deal of genteel company from Theobald's Road, 
Red-lion Square, and other parts toward the west. There were 
several beaux of their brother's acquaintance from Gray's-Inn 
lane and Hatton Garden ; and not less than three Aldermen's 
ladies with their daughters. This was not to be forgotten or 
forgiven. All Little Britain was in an uproar with the smack- 
ing of whips, the lashing of miserable horses, and the rattling 
and jingling of hackney-coaches. The gossips of the neigh- 
borhood might be seen popping their night-caps out at every 
window, watching the crazy vehicles rumble by ; and there was 
a knot of virulent old cronies, that kept a look-out from a house 
just opposite the retired butcher's, and scanned and criticised 
every one that knocked at the door. 

This dance was the cause of almost open war, and the whole 
neighborhood declared they would have nothing more to say 
to the Lambs. It is true that Mrs. Lamb, when she had no 
engagements with her quality acquaintance, would give little 
humdrum tea junketings to some of her old crouies, "quite," 
as she would say, " in a friendly way ; " and it is equally true 
that her invitations were always accepted, in spite of all pre- 
vious vows to the contrary. Nay, the good ladies would sit 
and be delighted with the music of the Miss Lambs, who would 
condescend to thrum an Irish melody for them on the piano ; 
and they would listen with wonderful interest to Mrs. Lamb's 
anecdotes of Alderman Plunket's family of Portsokenward, 


and the Miss Timber-lakes, the rich heiresses of Crutched-Friars ; 
but then they relieved their consciences, and averted the re- 
proaches of their confederates, by canvassing at the next gos- 
siping convocation every thing that had passed, and pulling the 
Lambs and their rout all to pieces. 

The only one of the family that could not be made fashion- 
able, was the retired butcher himself. Honest Lamb, in spite 
of the meekness of his name, was a rough hearty old fellow, 
with the voice of a lion, a head of black hair like a shoe-brush, 
and a broad face mottled like his own beef. It was in vain 
that the daughters always spoke of him as the " old gentle- 
man," addressed him as " papa," in tones of infinite softness, 
and endeavored to coax him into a dressing-gown and slippers, 
and other gentlemanly habits. Do what they might, there was 
no keeping down the butcher. His sturdy nature would break 
through all their glozings. He had a hearty vulgar good-hu- 
mor, that was irrepressible. His very jokes made his sensitive 
daughters shudder ; and he persisted in wearing his blue cotton 
coat of a morning, dining at two o'clock, and having a " bit of 
sausage with his tea." 

He was doomed, however, to share the unpopularity of his 
family. He found his old comrades gradually growing cold 
and civil to him ; no longer laughing at his jokes ; and now 
and then throwing out a fling at k ' some people," and a hint 
about "quality binding." This both nettled and perplexed 
the honest butcher ; and his wife and daughters, with the con- 
summate policy of the shrewder sex, taking advantage of the 
circumstance, at length prevailed upon him to give up his 
afternoon's pipe and tankard at Wagstaff's ; to sit after dinner 
by himself, and take his pint of port a liquor he detested 
and to nod in his chair, in solitary and dismal gentility. 

The Miss Lambs might now be seen flaunting along the 
streets in French bonnets, with unknown beaux ; and talking 
and laughing so loud, that it distressed the nerves of every good 
lady within hearing. They even went so far as to attempt 
patronage, and actually induced a French dancing-master to 
set up in the neighborhood ; but the worthy folks of Little 
Britain took fire at it, and did so persecute the poor Gaul, that 
he was fain to pack up fiddle and dancing-pumps, and decamp 
with such precipitation, that he absolutely forgot to pay for his 

I had flattered myself, at first, with the idea that all this 
fiery indignation on the part of the community was merely the 
overflowing of their zeal for good old English manners, and 


their horror of innovation ; and I applauded the silent con- 
tempt they were so vociferous in expressing for upstart pride, 
French fashions, and the Miss Lambs. But I grieve to sa}', 
that I soon perceived the infection had taken hold ; and that rcy 
neighbors, after condemning, were beginning to follow their ex- 
ample. I overheard my landlady importuning her husband to 
let their daughters have one quarter at French and music, and 
that they might take a few lessons in quadrille ; I even saw, in 
the course of a few Sundays, no less than five French bonnets, 
precisely like those of the Miss Lambs, parading about Little 

I still had my hopes that all this folly would gradually die 
away ; that the Lambs might move out of the neighborhood ; 
might die, or might run away with attorneys' apprentices ; and 
that quiet and simplicity might be again restored to the com- 
munity. But unluckily a rival power arose. An opulent oil- 
man died, and left a widow with a large jointure, and a family 
of buxom daughters. The young ladies had long been repining 
in secret at the parsimony of a prudent father, which kept down 
all their elegant aspirings. Their ambition being now no longer 
restrained broke out into a blaze, and they openly took the field 
against the family of the butcher. Jt is true that the Lambs, 
having had the first start, had naturally an advantage of them 
in the fashionable career. They could speak a little bad French, 
play the piano, dance quadrilles, and had formed high acquaint- 
ances, but the Trotters were not to be distanced. When the 
Lambs appeared with two feathers in their hats, the Miss Trot- 
ters mounted four, and of twice as fine colors. If the Lambs 
gave a dance, the Trotters were sure not to be behindhand ; and 
though they might not boast of as good company, yet they had 
double the number, and were twice as merry. 

The whole community has at length divided itself into fash- 
ionable factions, under the banners of these two families. The 
old games of Pope-Joan and Tom-come-tickle-me are entirely 
discarded ; there is no such thing as getting up an honest 
country-dance ; and on my attempting to kiss a young lady 
under the mistletoe last Christmas, I was indignantly repulsed ; 
the Miss Lambs having pronounced it " shocking vulgar." 
Bitter rivalry has also broken out as to the most fashionable 
part of Little Britain ; the Lambs standing up for the dignity 
of Cross-Keys Square, and the Trotters for the vicinity of St. 

Thus is this little territory torn by factions and internal dis- 
sensions, like the great empire whose name it bears ; and what 


will be the result would puzzle the apothecary himself, with all 
his talent at prognostics, to determine ; though I apprehend 
that it will terminate in the total downfall of genuine John 

The immediate effects are extremely unpleasant to me. Be- 
ing a single man, and, as I observed before, rather an idle 
good-for-nothing personage, I have been considered the only 
gentleman by profession in the place. I stand therefore in high 
favor with both parties, and have to hear all their cabinet coun- 
cils and mutual backbitings. As I am too civil not to agree 
with the ladies on all occasions, I have committed myself most 
horribly with both parties, by abusing their opponents. I might 
manage to reconcile this to my conscience, which is a truly ac- 
commodating one, but I cannot to my apprehension if the 
Lambs and Trotters ever come to a reconciliation, and com- 
pare notes, I am ruined ! 

I have determined, therefore, to beat a retreat in time, and 
am actually looking out for some other nest in this great city, 
where old English manners are still kept up ; where French is 
neither eaten, drunk, danced, nor spoken ; and where there are 
no fashionable families of retired tradesmen. This found, I 
will, like a veteran rat, hasten away before I have an old house 
about my ears bid a long, though a sorrowful adieu to my 
present abode and leave the rival factions of the Lambs and 
the Trotters, to divide the distracted empire of LITTLE BRITAIN. 


Thou soft flowing Avon, by thy silver stream 

Of things more than mortal sweet Shakspeare would dream; 

The fairies by moonlight dance round his green bed, 

For hallowed the turf is which pillowed his head. GARRICK. 

To a homeless man, who has no spot on this wide world which 
he can truly call his own, there is a momentary feeling of some- 
thing like independence and territorial consequence, when, after 
a weary day's travel, he kicks off his boots, thrusts his feet into 
slippers, and stretches himself before an inn fire. Let the world 
without go as it may ; let kingdoms rise or fall, so long as he 
has the wherewithal to pay his bill, he is, for the time being, 
the very monarch of all he surveys. The arm-chair is his 
throne, the poker his sceptre, and the little parlor, some twelve 


feet square, his undisputed empire. It is a morsel of cer- 
tainty, snatched from the midst of the uncertainties of life; 
it is a sunny moment gleaming out kindly on a cloudy day ; 
and he who has advanced some way on the pilgrimage of ex- 
istence, knows the importance of husbanding even morsels and 
moments of enjoyment. " Shall I not take mine ease in mine 
inn? " thought I, as I gave the fire a stir, lolled back in my 
elbow-chair, and cast a complacent look about the little parlor 
of the Red Horse, at Stratforcl-on-Avon. 

The words of sweet Shakspeare were just passing through 
my mind as the clock struck midnight from the tower of the 
church in which he lies buried. There was a gentle tap at the 
door, and a pretty chambermaid, putting in her smiling face, 
inquired, with a hesitating air, whether I had rung. I under- 
stood it as a modest hint that it was time to retire. My dream 
of absolute dominion was at an end ; so abdicating my throne, 
like a prudent potentate, to avoid being deposed, and putting 
the Stratford Guide-Book under my arm, as a pillow companion, 
I went to bed, and dreamt all night of Shakspeare, the Jubilee, 
and David Garrick. 

The next morning was one of those quickening mornings 
which we sometimes have in early spring, for it was about the 
middle of March. The chills of a long winter had suddenly 
given way ; the north wind had spent its last gasp ; and a mild 
air came stealing from the west, breathing the breath of life into 
nature, and wooing every bud and flower to burst forth into fra- 
grance and beauty. 

I had come to Stratford on a poetical pilgrimage. My first 
visit was to the house where Shakspeare was born, and where, 
according to tradition, he was brought up to his father's craft 
of wool-cornbing. It is a small, mean-looking edifice of wood 
and plaster, a true nestling-place of genius, which seems to de- 
light in hatching its offspring in by-corners. The walls of its 
squalid chambers are covered with names and inscriptions in 
every language, by pilgrims of all nations, ranks, and condi- 
tions, from the prince to the peasant ; and present a simple, but 
striking instance of the spontaneous and universal homage of 
mankind to the great poet of nature". 

The house is shown by a garrulous old lady, in a frosty red 
face, lighted up by a cold bine anxious eye, and garnished with 
artificial locks of flaxen hair, curling from under an exceed- 
ingly dirty cap. She was peculiarly assiduous in exhibiting the 
relics with which this, like all other celebrated shrines, abounds. 
There was the shattered stock of the very matchlock with which 


Shakspeare shot the deer, on his poaching exploits. There, 
too, was his tobacco-box ; which proves that he was a rival 
smoker of Sir Walter Ealeigh ; the sword also with which he 
played Hamlet ; and the identical lantern with which Friar Law- 
rence discovered Romeo and Juliet at the tomb ! There was an 
ample supply also of Shakspeare's mulberry-tree, which seems 
to have as extraordinary powers of self-multiplication as the 
wood of the true cross ; of which there is enough extant to build 
a ship of the line. 

The most favorite object of curiosity, however, is Shak- 
speare's chair. It stands in the chimney-nook of a small 
gloomy chamber, just behind what was his father's shop. 
Here he may many a time have sat when a boy, watching the 
slowly-revolving spit, with all the longing of an urchin ; or of 
an evening, listening to the cronies and gossips of Stratford, 
dealing forth churchyard tales and legendary anecdotes of the 
troublesome times of England. In this chair it is the custom 
of every one that visits the house to sit : whether this be done 
with the hope of imbibing any of the inspiration of the bard, I 
am at a loss to say ; I merely mention the fact ; and my hostess 
privately assured me, that, though built of solid oak, such was 
the fervent zeal of devotees, that the chair had to be new-bot- 
tomed at least once in three years. It is worthy of notice also, 
in the history of this extraordinary chair, that it partakes some- 
thing of the volatile nature of the Santa Casa of Loretto, or 
the flying chair of the Arabian enchanter ; for though sold 
some few years since to a northern princess, yet, strange to 
tell, it has found its way back again to the old chimney-corner. 

I am always of easy faith in such matters, and am ever will- 
ing to be deceived, where the deceit is pleasant and costs noth- 
ing. I am therefore a ready believer in relics, legends, and 
local anecdotes of goblins and great men ; and would advise all 
travellers who travel for their gratification to be the same. 
What is it to us whether these stories be true or false so long 
as we can persuade ourselves into the belief of them, and enjoy 
all the charm of the reality? There is nothing like resolute 
good-humored credulity in these matters ; and on this occasion 
I went even so far as willingly to believe the claims of mine 
hostess to a lineal descent from the poet, when, luckily for 
my faith, she put into my hands a plaj' of her own composition, 
which set all belief in her consanguinity at defiance. 

From the birthplace of Shakspeare a few paces brought me 
to his grave. He lies buried in the chancel of the parish church, 
a large and venerable pile, mouldering with age, but richly orna- 


merited. It stands on the banks of the Avon, on an embowered 
point, and separated by adjoining gardens from the suburbs 
of the town. Its situation is quiet and retired : the river runs 
murmuring at the foot of the churchyard, and the elms which 
grow upon its banks droop their branches into its clear bosom. 
An avenue of limes, the boughs of which are curiously inter- 
laced, so as to form in summer an arched way of foliage, leads 
up from the gate of the yard to the church porch. The graces 
are overgrown with grass ; the gray tombstones, some of them 
nearly sunk into the earth, are half-covered with moss, which 
has likewise tinted the reverend old building. Small birds have 
built their nests among the cornices and fissures of the walls, 
and keep up a continual flutter and chirping ; and rooks are 
sailing and cawing about its lofty gray spire. 

In the course of my rambles 1 met with the gray-headed sex- 
ton Edmonds, and accompanied him home to get the key of the 
church. He had lived in Stratford, man and boy, for eighty 
years, and seemed still to consider himself a vigorous man, with 
the trivial exception that he had nearly lost the use of his legs for 
a few years past. His dwelling was a cottage, looking out upon 
the Avon and its bordering meadows ; and was a picture of that 
neatness, order, and comfort, which pervade the humblest 
dwellings in this country. A low white-washed room, with a 
stone floor, carefully scrubbed, served for parlor, kitchen, and 
hall. Rows of pewter and earthen dishes glittered along the 
dresser. On an old oaken table, well rubbed and polished, lay 
the family Bible and prayer-book, and the drawer contained the 
family library, composed of about half a score of well-thumbed 
volumes. An ancient clock, that important article of cottage 
furniture, ticked on the opposite side of the room ; with a bright 
warming-pan hanging on one side of it, and the old man's horn- 
handled Sunday cane on the other. The fireplace, as usual, 
was wide and deep enough to admit a gossip knot within its 
jambs. In one corner sat the old man's grand-daughter sewing, 
a pretty blue-eyed girl, and in the opposite corner was a 
superannuated crony, whom he addressed by the name of John 
Ange, and who, I found, had been his companion from child- 
hood. They had plaj^ed together in infancy ; they had worked 
together in manhood ; they were now tottering about and gos- 
siping away the evening of life ; and in a short time they will 
probably be buried together in the neighboring churchyard. It 
is not often that we see two streams of existence running thus 
evenly and tranquilly side by side ; it is only in such quiet 
fct bosom scenes " of life that they are to be met with. 


I had hoped to gather some traditionary anecdotes of the 
bard from these ancient chroniclers ; but they had nothing new 
to impart. The long interval, during which Shakspeare's writ- 
ings lay in comparative neglect, has spread its shadow over his- 
tory ; and it is his good or evil lot, that scarcely any thing 
remains to his biographers but a scanty handful of conjectures. 

The sexton and his companion had been employed as carpen- 
ters, on the preparations for the celebrated Stratford jubilee, 
and they remembered Garrick, the prime mover of the fete, who 
superintended the arrangements, and who, according to the sex- 
ton, was " a short punch man, very lively and bustling." John 
Ange had assisted also in cutting down Shakspeare's mulbeny- 
tree, of which he had a morsel in his pocket for sale ; no doubt 
a sovereign quickener of literary conception. 

I was grieved to hear these two worthy wights speak very 
dubiously of the eloquent dame who shows the Shakspeare 
house. John Ange shook his head when I mentioned her val- 
uable collection of relics, particularly her remains of the mul- 
berry-tree ; and the old sexton even expressed a doubt as to 
Shakspeare having been born in her house. I soon discov- 
ered that he looked upon her mansion with an evil eye. 
as a rival to the poet's tomb; the latter having compara- 
tively but few visitors. Thus it is that historians differ at the 
very outset, and mere pebbles make the stream of truth diverge 
into different channels, even at the fountain-head. 

We approached the church through the avenue of limes, and 
entered by a Gothic porch, highly ornamented with carved doors 
of massive oak. The interior is spacious, and the architecture 
and embellishments superior to those of most country churches. 
There are several ancient monuments of nobility and gentry, 
over some of which hang funeral escutcheons, and banners 
dropping piecemeal from the walls. The tomb of Shakspeare is 
in the chancel. The place is solemn and sepulchral. Tall elms 
wave before the pointed windows, and the Avon, which runs at 
a short distance from the walls, keeps up a low perpetual murmur. 
A flat stone marks the spot where the bard is buried. There are 
four lines inscribed on it, said to have been written by himself, 
and which have in them something extremely awful. If they 
are indeed his own, they show that solicitude about the quiet of 
the grave, which seems natural to fine sensibilities and thought- 
ful minds : 

Good friend, for Jesus' sake, forbeare 
To dig the dust inclosed here. 
Blessed be he that spares these stones, 
Arid curst be he that moves my bones. 

S TEA TFO R D- ON- A VON. 199 

Just over the grave, in a niche of the wall, is a bust of Shak- 
speare, put up shortly after his death, and considered as a re- 
semblance. The aspect is pleasant and serene, with a finely 
arched forehead ; and I thought I could read in it clear indi- 
cations of that cheerful, social disposition, by which he was 
as much characterized among his contemporaries as by the 
vastness of his genius. The inscription mentions his age at 
the time of his decease fifty-three years ; an untimely death 
for the world : for what fruit might not have been expected 
from the golden autumn of such a mind, sheltered as it was 
from the stormy vicissitudes of life, and flourishing in the sun- 
shine of popular and royal favor ! 

The inscription on the tombstone has not been without its 
effect. It has prevented the removal of his remains from the 
bosom of his native place to Westminster Abbey, which was 
at one time contemplated. A few years since also, as some 
laborers were digging to make an adjoining vault, the earth 
caved in, so as to leave a vacant space almost like an arch, 
through which one might have, reached into his grave. No 
one, however, presumed to meddle with his remains so awfully 
guarded by a malediction, and lest any of the idle or the curi- 
ous, or any collector of relics, should be tempted to commit 
depredations, the old sexton kept watch over the place for two 
days, until the vault was finished, and the aperture closed again. 
He told me that he had made bold to look in at the hole, but 
could see neither coffin nor bones ; nothing but dust. It was 
something, I thought, to have seen the dust of Shakspeare. 

Next to this grave are those of his wife, his favorite daugh- 
ter Mrs. Hall, and others of his family. On a tomb close by, 
also, is a full-length effigy of his old friend John Combe, of 
usurious memory ; on whom he is said to have written a ludi- 
crous epitaph. There are other monuments around, but the 
mind refuses to dwell on any thing that is not connected with 
Shakspeare. His idea pervades the place the whole pile 
seems but as his mausoleum. The feelings, no longer checked 
and thwarted by doubt, here indulge in perfect confidence : 
other traces of him may be false or dubious, but here is palpa- 
ble evidence and absolute certainty. As I trod the sounding 
pavement, there was something intense and thrilling in the 
idea, that, in very truth, the remains of Shakspeare were 
mouldering beneath my feet. It was a long time before I 
could prevail upon myself to leave the place ; and as I passed 
through the churchyard, I plucked a branch from one of the 
yew-trees, the only relic that I have brought from Stratford. 


I had now visited the usual objects of a pilgrim's devotion, 
but I had a desire to see the old family seat of the Lucys at 
Charlecot, and to ramble through the park where Shakspeare, 
in company with some of the roysters of Stratford, committed 
his youthful offence of deer-stealing. In this harebrained ex- 
ploit we are told that he was taken prisoner, and carried to 
the keeper's lodge, where he remained all night in doleful cap- 
tivity. When brought into the presence of Sir Thomas Lucy, 
his treatment must have been galling and humiliating ; for it 
so wrought upon his spirit as to produce a rough pasquinade, 
which was affixed to the park gate at Charlecot. 1 

This flagitious attack upon the dignity of the Knight so in- 
censed him, that he applied to a lawyer at Warwick to put the 
severity of the laws in force against the rhyming deer-stalker. 
Shakspeare did not wait to brave the united puissance of a 
Knight of the Shire and a country attorney. He forthwith 
abandoned the pleasant banks of the Avon, and his paternal 
trade ; wandered away to London ; became a hanger-on to the 
theatres ; then an actor ; and, finally, wrote for the stage ; and 
thus, through the persecution of Sir Thomas Lucy, Stratford 
lost an indifferent wool-comber, and the world gained an im- 
mortal poet. He retained, however, for a long time, a sense of 
the harsh treatment of the Lord of Charlecot, and revenged 
himself in his writings ; but in the sportive way of a good- 
natured mind. Sir Thomas is said to be the original Justice 
Shallow, and the satire is slyly fixed upon him by the Justice's 
armorial bearings, which, like those of the Knight, had white 
luces 2 in the quarterings. 

Various attempts have been made by his biographers to 
soften and explain away this early transgression of the poet ; 
but I look upon it as one of those thoughtless exploits natural 
to his situation and turn of mind. Shakspeare, when young, 
had doubtless all the wildness and irregularity of an ardent, 
undisciplined, and undirected genius. The poetic temperament 
has naturally something in it of the vagabond. When left to 

1 The following is the only stanza extant of this lampoon : 

A parliament member, a justice of peace, 
At home a poor scarecrow, at London an asse, 
If lowsie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it, 
Then Lucy is lowsie, whatever befall it, 

He thinks himself great; 

Yet an asse in his state, 
We allow by his ears but with asses to mate. 
If Lucy is lowsie, as some volke miscalle it, 
Then sing lowsie Lucy, whatever befall it. 

2 The luce is a pike or jack, and abounds in the Avon, about Charlecot. 


itself, it runs loosely and wildly, and delights in every thing 
eccentric and licentious. It is often a turn-up of a die, in the 
gambling freaks of fate, whether a natural genius shall turn 
out a great rogue or a great poet ; and had not Shakspeare's 
mind fortunately taken a literary bias, he might have as dar- 
ingly transcended all civil, as he has all dramatic laws. 

I have little doubt, that, in early life, when running, like an 
unbroken colt, about the neighborhood of Stratford, he was to 
be found in the company of all kinds of odd and anomalous 
characters ; that he associated with all the madcaps of the 
place, and was one of those unlucky urchins, at mention of 
whom old men shake their heads, and predict that they will 
one day come to the gallows. To him the poaching in Sir 
Thomas Lucy's park was doubtless like a foray to a Scottish 
Knight, and struck his eager, and as }-et untamed, imagination, 
as something delightfully adventurous. 1 

The old mansion of Charlecot and its surrounding park still 
remain in the possession of the Lucy family, and are peculiarly 
interesting from being connected with this whimsical but event- 
ful circumstance in the scanty history of the bard. As the 
house stood but little more than three miles' distance from Strat- 
ford, I resolved to pay it a pedestrian visit, that I might stroll 
leisurely through some of those scenes from which Shakspeare 
must have derived his earliest ideas of rural imagery. 

The country was yet naked and leafless ; but English scenery 
is always verdant, and the sudden change in the temperature 

1 A proof of Shakspeare's random habits and associates in his youthful days may 
be found in a traditionary anecdote, picked up at Stratford by the elder Ireland, and 
mentioned in his " Picturesque Views on the Avon," 

About seven miles from Stratford lies the thirsty little market town of Bedford, 
famous for its ale. Two societies of the village yeomanry used to meet, under the 
appellation of the Bedford topers, and to challenge the lovers of good ale of the 
neighboring villages, to a contest of drinking. Among others, the people of Strat- 
ford were called out to prove the strength of their heads; and in the number 
of the champions was Shakspeare, who, in spite of the proverb, that " they who 
drink beer will think beer," was as true to his ale as Falstaff to his sack. The 
chivalry of Stratford was staggered at the first onset, and sounded a retreat while 
they had yet legs to carry them off the field. They had scarcely marched a mile, 
when, their legs failing them, they were forced to lie down under a crab-tree, where 
they passed the night. It is still standing, and goes by the name of Shakspeare's 

In the morning his companions awaked the bard, and proposed returning to 
Bedford, but he declined, saying he had had enough, having drunk with 

Piping Pebworth, Dancing Marston, 
Haunted Hilbro', Hungry Grafton, 
Budging Exhiiil, Papist Wicksford, 
Beggarly Broom, and drunken Bedford. 

" The villages here alluded to," says Ireland, " still bear the epithets thus given 
them: the people of Pebworth are still famed for their skill on the pipe and tabor; 
Hillborough is now called Haunted Hillborough; and Grafton is famous for the 
poverty of its soil." 


of the weather was surprising in its quickening effects upon 
the landscape. It was inspiring and animating to witness this 
first awakening of spring ; to feel its warm breath stealing 
over the senses ; to see the moist mellow earth beginning to 
put forth the green sprout and the tender blade ; and the trees 
and shrubs, and their reviving tints and bursting buds, giving 
the promise of returning foliage and flower. The cold snow- 
drop, that little borderer on the skirts of winter, was to be 
seen with its chaste white blossoms in the small gardens before 
the cottages. The bleating of the new-dropt lambs was faintly 
heard from the fields. The sparrow twittered about the 
thatched eaves and budding hedges ; the robin threw a livelier 
note into his late querulous wintry strain ; and the lark, spring- 
ing up from the reeking bosom of the meadow, towered away 
into the bright fleecy cloud, pouring forth torrents of melody. 
As I watched the little songster, mounting up higher and 
higher, until his body was a mere speck on the white bosom 
of the cloud, while the ear was still filled with his music, it 
called to mind Shakspeare's exquisite little song in Cymbeline : 

Hark ! hark ! the lark at heaven's gate sings, 

And Phoebus 'gins arise, 
His steeds to water at those springs, 

On chaliced flowers that lies. 

And winking mary-buds begin 

To ope their golden eyes; 
With every thing that pretty bin, 

My lady sweet, arise ! 

Indeed, the whole country about here is poetic ground : every 
thing is associated witli the idea of Shakspeare. Every old 
cottage that I saw, I fancied into some resort of his boyhood, 
where he had acquired his intimate knowledge of rustic life and 
manners, and heard those legendary tales and wild superstitions 
which he has woven like witchcraft into his dramas. For in 
his. time, we are told, it was a popular amusement in winter 
evenings "to sit round the fire, and tell merry tales of errant 
knights, queens, lovers, lords, ladies, giants, dwarfs, thieves, 
cheaters, witches, fairies, goblins, and friars." l 

1 Scot, in his "Discoverie of Witchcraft," enumerates a host of these fireside 
fancies. "And they have so fraid us with bull- beggars, spirits, witches, urchins, 
elves, hags, fairies, satyrs, pans, faunes, syrens, kit with the can sticke, tritons, cen- 
taurs, dwarfes, giantes, imps, calcars, conjurers, nymphes, changelings, incubus, 
Robin-good-fellow, the spoorne. the mare, the man in the oke, the hellwaine, the fier 
drake, the puckle, Tom Thorobe, hobgoblins, Tom Tumbler, boneless, and such other 
bugs, that we were afraid of our own shadowee," 


My route for a part of the way lay in sight of the Avon, 
which made a variety of the most fanciful doublings and wind- 
ings through a wide and fertile valley : sometimes glittering 
from among willows, which fringed its borders ; sometimes dis- 
appearing among groves, or beneath green banks ; and some- 
times rambling out into full view, and making an azure sweep 
round a slope of meadow land. This beautiful bosom of country 
Is called the Vale of the Red Horse. A distant line of undulat- 
ing blue hills seems to be its boundary, whilst all the soft inter- 
vening landscape lies in a manner enchained in the silver links 
of the Avon. 

After pursuing the road for about three miles, I turned off 
into a foot-path, which led along the borders of fields and under 
hedge-rows to a private gate of the park ; there was a stile, 
however, for the benefit of the pedestrian ; there being a public 
right of way through the grounds. I delight in these hospitable 
estates, in which every one has a kind of property at least as 
far as the foot-path is concerned. It in some measure recon- 
ciles a poor man to his lot, and what is more, to the better lot 
of his neighbor, thus to have parks and pleasure-grounds thrown 
open for his recreation. He breathes the pure air as freely, 
and lolls as luxuriously under the shade, as the lord of the soil ; 
and if he has not the privilege of calling all that he sees his 
own, he has not, at the same time, the trouble of paying for it. 
and keeping it in order. 

I now found myself among noble avenues of oaks and elms, 
whose vast size bespoke the growth of centuries. The wind 
sounded solemnly among their branches, and the rooks cawed 
from their hereditary nests in the tree tops. The eye ranged 
through a long lessening vista, with nothing to interrupt the 
view but a distant statue ; and a vagrant deer stalking like a 
shadow across the opening. 

There is something about these stately old avenues that has 
the effect of Gothic architecture, not merely from the pretended 
similarity of form, but from their bearing the evidence of long 
duration, and of having had their origin in a period of time 
with which we associate ideas of romantic grandeur. They 
betoken also the long-settled dignity, and proudly concentrated 
independence of an ancient family ; and I have heard a worthy 
but aristocratic old friend observe, when speaking of the sump- 
tuous palaces of modern gentry, that "money could do much 
with stone and mortar, but, thank Heaven, there was no such 
thing as suddenly building up an avenue of oaks." 

It was from wandering in early life among this rich scenery, 


and about the romantic solitudes of the adjoining park of Full- 
broke, which then formed a part of the Lucy estate, that some 
of Shakspeare's commentators have supposed he derived his 
noble forest meditations of Jaques, and the enchanting wood- 
land pictures in "As you like it." It is in lonely wanderings 
through such scenes, that the mind drinks deep but quiet 
draughts of inspiration, and becomes intensely sensible of the 
beauty and majesty of nature. The imagination kindles into 
reverie and rapture ; vague but exquisite images and ideas keep 
breaking upon it ; and we revel in a mute and almost incom- 
municable luxury of thought. It was in some such mood, and 
perhaps under one of those very trees before me, which threw 
their broad shades over the grassy banks and quivering waters 
of the Avon, that the poet's fancy may have sallied forth into 
that little song which breathes the very soul of a rural volup- 

Under the green-wood tree, 

Who loves to lie with me, 

And tune his merry throat 

Unto the sweet bird's note, 

Come hither, come hither, come hither, 

Here shall he see 

No enemy 
But winter and rough weather. 

I had now come in sight of the house. It is a large building 
of brick, with stone quoins, and is in the Gothic style of Queen 
Elizabeth's day, having been built in the first year of her reign, 
The exterior remains very nearly in its original state, and ma;y 
be considered a fair specimen of the residence of a wealthy 
country gentleman of those days. A great gateway opens from 
the park into a kind of court-yard in front of the house, orna- 
mented with a grass-plot, shrubs, and flower-beds. The gate- 
way is in imitation of the ancient barbican ; being a kind of 
outpost, and flanked by towers ; though evidently for mere or- 
nament, instead of defence. The front of the house is com- 
pletely in the old style ; with stone shafted casements, a great 
bow-window of heavy stonework, and a portal with armorial 
bearings over it, carved in stone. At each corner of the build- 
ing is an octagon tower, surmounted by a gilt ball and weather- 

The Avon, which winds through the park, makes a bend just 
at the foot of a gently sloping bank, which sweeps down from 
the rear of the house. Large herds of deer were feeding or 
reposing upon its borders ; and swans were sailing majestically 


upon its bosom. As I contemplated the venerable old mansion, 
I called to mind Falstaff's encomium on Justice Shallow's 
abode, and the affected indifference and real vanity of the 
latter : 

" Falstaff. You have a goodly dwelling and a rich. 

" Shallow. Barren, barren, barren ; beggars all, beggars all, Sir John : marry, good 

Whatever may have been the joviality of the old mansion 
in the days of Shakspeare, it had now an air of stillness and 
solitude. The great iron gateway that opened into the court- 
yard was locked ; there was no show of servants bustling about 
the place ; the deer gazed quietly at me as I passed, being no 
longer harried by the moss-troopers of Stratford. The only 
sign of domestic life that I met with was a white cat, stealing 
with wary look and stealthy pace towards the stables, as if on 
some nefarious expedition. I must not omit to mention the 
carcass of a scoundrel crow which I saw suspended against 
the barn wall, as it shows that the Lucys still inherit that lordly 
abhorrence of poachers, and maintain that rigorous exercise of 
territorial power which was so strenuously manifested in the 
case of the bard. 

After prowling about for some time, I at length found my 
way to a lateral portal, which was the every-day entrance to 
the mansion. I was courteously received by a worthy old 
housekeeper, who, with the civility and communicativeness of 
her order, showed me the interior of the house. The greater 
part has undergone alterations, and been adapted to modern 
tastes and modes of living : there is a fine old oaken staircase ; 
and the great hall, that noble feature in an ancient manor- 
house, still retains much of the appearance it must have had 
in the days of Shakspeare. The ceiling is arched and lofty ; 
and at one end is a galley, in which stands an organ. The 
weapons and trophies of the chase, which formerly adorned 
the hall of a country gentleman, have made way for family 
portraits. There is a wide hospitable fireplace, calculated for 
an ample old-fashioned wood fire, formerly the rallying place 
of winter festivity. On the opposite side of the hall is the huge 
Gothic bow- window, with stone shafts, which looks out upon 
the court-yard. Here are emblazoned in stained glass the 
armorial bearings of the Lucy family for many generations, 
some being dated in 1558. I was delighted to observe in the 
quarterings the three white luces by which the character of Sir 
Thomas was first identified with that of Justice Shallow. They 


are mentioned in the first scene of the Merry Wives of Wind- 
sor, where the Justice is in a rage with Falstaff for having 
"beaten his men, killed his deer, and broken into his lodge." 
The poet had no doubt the offences of himself and his comrades 
in mind at the time, and we may suppose the family pride and 
vindictive threats of the puissant Shallow to be a caricature of 
the pompous indignation of Sir Thomas. 

" Shallow. Sir Hugh, persuade me not : I will make a Star-Chamber matter of it; if 
he were twenty John Falstaffe, he shall not abuse Sir Robert Shallow, Esq. 

" Slender. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace, and coram. 

" Shallow. Ay, cousin Slender, and custalorum. 

"Slender. Ay, and ratalorum too, and a gentleman born, master parson; who 
writes himself Armigero in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, Armigero. 

" Shallow. Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three hundred years. 

" Slender. All his successors gone before him have done 't, and all his ancestors that 
come after him may : they may give the dozen white luces in their coat. 

" /Shallow. The council shall hear it; it is a riot. 

" Evans. It is not meet the council hear of a riot; there is no fear of Got in a riot : 
the council, hear you, shall desire to hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take 
your vizameuts in that. 

" Shallow. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword should end it ! " 

Near the window thus emblazoned hung a portrait by Sir 
Peter Lely of one of the Lucy family, a great beauty of the 
time of Charles the Second : the old housekeeper shook her 
head as she pointed to the picture, and informed me that this 
lady had been sadly addicted to cards, and had gambled away 
a great portion of the family estate, among which was that 
part of the park where Shakspeare and his comrades had killed 
the deer. The lands thus lost had not been entirely regained 
by the family, even at the present day. It is but justice to 
this recreant dame to confess that she had a surpassingly fine 
hand and arm. 

The picture which most attracted my attention was a great 
painting over the fireplace, containing likenesses of Sir 
Thomas Lucy and his family, who inhabited the hall in the 
latter part of Shakspeare 's lifetime. I at first thought that it 
was the vindictive knight himself, but the housekeeper assured 
me that it was his son ; the only likeness extant of the former 
being an effigy upon his tomb in the church of the neighbor- 
ing hamlet of Charlecot. 1 The picture gives a lively idea of the 
costume and manners of the time. Sir Thomas is dressed in 
ruff and doublet ; white shoes with roses in them ; and has a 
peaked yellow, or, as Master Slender would say, "a cane- 
colored beard." His lady is seated on the opposite side of the 

1 Appendix, Note 4. 


picture in wide ruff and long stomacher, and the children have 
a most venerable stiffness and formality of dress. Hounds 
and spaniels are mingled in the family group ; a hawk is seated 
on his perch in the foreground, and one of the children holds a 
bow ; all intimating the knight's skill in hunting, hawking, 
and archery so indispensable to an accomplished gentleman 
in those days. 1 

I regretted to find that the ancient furniture of the hall had 
disappeared ; for I had hoped to meet with the stately elbow- 
chair of carved oak, in which the country 'Squire of former 
days was wont to sway the sceptre of empire over his rural 
domains ; and in which it might be presumed the redoubted 
Sir Thomas sat enthroned in awful state, when the recreant 
Shakspeare was brought before him. As I like to deck out 
pictures for my own entertainment, I pleased myself with the 
idea that this very hall had been the scene of the unlucky 
bard's examination on the morning after his captivity in the 
lodge. I fancied to myself the rural potentate, surrounded by 
his body-guard of butler, pages, and blue-coated serving-men 
with their badges ; while the luckless culprit was brought in, 
forlorn and chopfallen, in the custody of game-keepers, hunts- 
men, and whippers-in, and followed by a rabble rout of country 
clowns. I fancied bright faces of curious house-maids peeping 
from the half-opened doors ; while from the gallery the fair 
daughters of the Knight leaned gracefully forward, eying 
the youthful prisoner with that pity "that dwells in woman- 
hood." Who would have thought that this poor varlet, thus 
trembling before the brief authority of a country 'Squire, and 
the sport of rustic boors, was soon to become the delight of 
princes ; the theme of all tongues and ages ; the dictator to the 
human mind ; and was to confer immortality on his oppressor 
by a caricature and a lampoon ! 

I was now invited by the butler to walk into the garden, and 
I felt inclined to visit the orchard and arbor where the Justice 
treated Sir John Falstaff and Cousin Silence "to a last year's 
pippin of his own grafting, with a dish of caraways ; " but I 

1 Bishop Earle, speaking of the country gentleman of his time, observes, "his house- 
keeping is seen much in the different families of dogs, and serving-men attendant on 
their kennels; and the deepness of their throats is the depth of his discourse. A hawk 
he esteems the true burden of nobility, and is exceedingly ambitious to seem delighted 
with the sport, and have his fist gloved with his jesses." And Gilpin, in his description 
of a Mr. Hastings, remarks, " he kept all sorts of hounds that run, buck, fox, hare, otter, 
and badger; and had hawks of all kinds both long and short winged. His great hall was 
commonly strewed with marrow-bones, and full of hawk perches, hounds, spaniels, and 
terriers. On a broad hearth, paved with brick, lay some of the choicest terriers, hounds, 
and spaniels." 


had already spent so much of the day in my ramblings, that 
I was obliged to give up any further investigations. When 
about to take my leave, I was gratified by the civil entreaties 
of the housekeeper and butler, that I would take some refresh- 
ment an instance of good old hospitality, which I grieve to 
say we castle-hunters seldom meet with in modern days. I 
make no doubt it is a virtue which the present representative 
of the Lucys inherits from his ancestors ; for Shakspeare, even 
in his caricature, makes Justice Shallow importunate in this 
respect, as witness his pressing instances to Falstaff. 

" By cock and pye, Sir, you shall not away to-night ... I will not excuse you ; 
you Bhall not be excused ; excuses shall not be admitted ; there is no excuse shall serve ; 
you shall not be excused . . . Some pigeons, Davy; a couple of short-legged hens; a 
joint of mutton; and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell William Cook." 

I now bade a reluctant farewell to the old hall. My mind 
had become so completely possessed by the imaginary scenes 
and characters connected with it, that I seemed to be actually 
living among them. Every thing brought them as it were be- 
fore my eyes ; and as the door of the dining-room opened, I 
almost expected to hear the feeble voice of Master Silence 
quavering forth his favorite ditty : 

" 'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all, 
And welcome merry Shrove-tide ! " 

On returning to my inn, I could not but reflect on the singu- 
lar gift of the poet ; to be able thus to spread the magic of his 
mind over the very face of nature ; to give to things and places 
a charm and character not their own, and to turn this " work- 
ing-day world " into a perfect fairy land. He is indeed the true 
enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon 
the imagination and the heart. Under the wizard influence of 
Shakspeare I had been walking all day in a complete delusion. 
I had surveyed the landscape through the prism of poetry, 
which tinged every object with the hues of the rainbow. I had 
been surrounded with fancied jbeings ; with mere airy nothings, 
conjured up by poetic power ; yet which, to me, had all the 
charm of reality. I had heard Jaques soliloquize beneath his 
oak ; had beheld the fair Rosalind and her companion adventur- 
ing through the woodlands : and, above all, had been once more 
present in spirit with fat Jack Falstaff, and his contemporaries, 
from the august Justice Shallow, down to the gentle Master 
Slender, and the sweet Anne Page. Ten thousand honors and 


blessings on the bard who has thus gilded the dull realities of 
life with innocent illusions ; who has spread exquisite and un- 
bought pleasures in my checquered path ; and beguiled my spirit 
in many a lonely hour, with all the cordial and cheerful sympa- 
thies of social life ! 

As I crossed the bridge over the Avon on my return, I paused 
to contemplate the distant church in which the poet lies buried, 
and could not but exult in the malediction which has kept his 
ashes undisturbed in its quiet and hallowed vaults. What 
honor could his name have derived from being mingled in dusty 
companionship with the epitaphs and escutcheons and venal 
eulogiums of a titled multitude ? What would a crowded corner 
in Westminster Abbey have been, compared with this reverend 
pile, which seems to stand in beautiful loneliness as his sole 
mausoleum ! The solicitude about the grave may be but the 
offspring of an overwrought sensibility ; but human nature is 
made up of foibles and prejudices ; and its best and tenderest 
affections are mingled with these factitious feelings. He who 
has sought renown about the world, and has reaped a full har- 
vest of worldly favor, will find, after all, that there is no love, 
no admiration, no applause, so sweet to the soul as that which 
springs up in his native place. It is there that he seeks to be 
gathered in peace and honor, among his kindred and his early 
friends. And when the weary heart and failing head begin to 
warn him that the evening of life is drawing on, he turns as 
fondly as does the infant to the mother's arms, to sink to sleep 
in the bosom of the scene of his childhood. 

How would it have cheered the spirit of the youthful bard, 
when, wandering forth in disgrace upon a doubtful world, he 
cast back a heavy look upon his paternal home, could he have 
foreseen that, before many years, he should return to it covered 
with renown ; that his name should become the boast and glory 
of his native place ; that his ashes should be religiously guarded 
as its most precious treasure ; and that its lessening spire, on 
which his eyes were fixed in tearful contemplation, should one 
day become the beacon, towering amidst the gentle landscape, 
to guide the literary pilgrim of every nation to his tomb ! 



" I appeal to any white man if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave 
him not to eat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not." Speech of 
an Indian Chief. 

THERE is something in the character and habits of the North 
American savage, taken in connection with the scenery over 
which he is accustomed to range, its vast lakes, boundless 
forests, majestic rivers, and trackless plains, that is, to my 
mind, wonderfully striking and sublime. He is formed for the 
wilderness, as the Arab is for the desert. His nature is stern, 
simple, and enduring ; fitted to grapple with difficulties, and to 
support privations. There seems but little soil in his heart for 
the support of the kindly virtues ; and yet, if we would but take 
the trouble to penetrate through that proud stoicism and habit- 
ual taciturnity, which lock up his character from casual obser- 
vation, we should find him linked to his fellow-man of civilized 
life by more of those sympathies and affections than are usually 
ascribed to him. 

It has been the lot of the unfortunate aborigines of America, 
in the early periods of colonization, to be doubly wronged by 
the white men. They have been dispossessed of their heredi- 
tary possessions, by mercenary and frequently wanton warfare ; 
and their characters have been traduced by bigoted and inter- 
ested writers. The colonists often treated them like beasts 
of the forest ; and the author has endeavored to justify him in 
his outrages. The former found it easier to exterminate than 
to civilize the latter to vilify than to discriminate. The ap- 
pellations of savage and pagan were deemed sufficient to sanc- 
tion the hostilities of both ; and thus the poor wanderers of the 
forest were persecuted and defamed, not because they were 
guilty, but because they were ignorant. 

The rights of the savage have seldom been properly appre- 
ciated or respected by the white man. In peace, he has too 
often been the dupe of artful traffic ; in war, he has been re- 
garded as a ferocious animal, whose life or death was a question 
of mere precaution and convenience. Man is cruelly wasteful 
of life when his own safety is endangered, and he is sheltered 
by impunity ; and little mercy is to be expected from him when 
he feels the sting of the reptile, and is conscious of the power to 


The same prejudices which were indulged thus early, exist 
in common circulation at the present day. Certain learned 
societies have, it is true, with laudable diligence, endeavored to 
investigate and record the real characters and manners of the 
Indian tribes ; the American government, too, has wisely and 
humanely exerted itself to inculcate a friendly and forbearing 
spirit towards them, and to protect them from fraud and injus- 
tice. 1 The current opinion of the Indian character, however, is 
too apt to be formed from the miserable hordes which infest the 
frontiers, and hang on the skirts of the settlements. These are 
too commonly composed of degenerate beings, corrupted and 
enfeebled by the vices of society, without being benefited by its 
civilization. That proud independence, which formed the main 
pillar of savage virtue, has been shaken down, and the whole 
moral fabric lies in ruins. Their spirits are humiliated and de- 
based by a sense of inferiority, and their native courage cowed 
and daunted by the superior knowledge and power of their 
enlightened neighbors. Society has advanced upon them like 
one of those withering airs that will sometimes breathe desola- 
tion over a whole region of fertility. It has enervated their 
strength, multiplied their diseases, and superinduced upon their 
original barbarity the low vices of artificial life. It has given 
them a thousand superfluous wants, whilst it has diminished 
their means of mere existence. It has driven before it the ani- 
mals of the chase, who fly from the sound of the axe and the 
smoke of the settlement, and seek refuge in the depths of 
remoter forests and yet untrodden wilds. Thus do we too often 
find the Indians on our frontiers to be the mere wrecks and 
remnants of once powerful tribes, who have lingered in the 
vicinity of the settlements, and sunk into precarious and vaga- 
bond existence. Poverty, repining and hopeless poverty, a 
canker of the mind unknown in savage life, corrodes their spirits 
and blights every free and noble quality of their natures. They 
become drunken, indolent, feeble, thievish, and pusillanimous. 
They loiter like vagrants about the settlements, among spacious 
dwellings, replete with elaborate comforts, which only render 
them sensible of the comparative wretchedness of their own 
condition. Luxury spreads its ample board before their eyes ; 
but they are excluded from the banquet. Plenty revels over 

1 The American government has been indefatigable in its exertions to ameliorate the 
situation of the Indians, and to introduce among them the arts of civilization, and civil 
and religious knowledge. To protect them from the frauds of the white traders, no 
purchase of land from them by individuals is permitted; nor is any person allowed to 
receive lands from them as a present, without the express sanction of government 
These precautions are strictly enforced. 


the fields ; but they are starving in the midst of its abundance ; 
the whole wilderness has blossomed into a garden ; but they 
feel as reptiles that infest it. 

How different was their state while yet the undisputed lords 
of the soil ! Their wants were few, and the means of gratifi- 
cation within their reach. They saw every one around them 
sharing the same lot, enduring the same hardships, feeding on 
the same aliments, arrayed in the same rude garments. No 
roof then rose, but was open to the homeless stranger ; no 
smoke curled among the trees, but he was welcome to sit down 
by its fire and join the hunter in his repast. " For," says an 
old historian of New England, " their life is so void of care, 
and they are so loving also, that they make use of those things 
they enjoy as common goods, and are therein so compassionate, 
that rather than one should starve through want, they would 
starve all; thus they pass their time merrily, not regarding 
our pomp, but are better content with their own, which some 
men esteem so meanly of." Such were the Indians, whilst in 
the pride and energy of their primitive natures ; they resemble 
those wild plants which thrive best in the shades of the forest, 
but shrink from the hand of cultivation, and perish beneath the 
influence of the sun. 

In discussing the savage character, writers have been too 
prone to indulge in vulgar prejudice and passionate exaggera- 
tion, instead of the candid temper of true philosoph}-. They 
have not- sufficiently considered the peculiar circumstances in 
which the Indians have been placed, and the peculiar principles 
under which they have been educated. No being acts more 
rigidly from rule than the Indian. His whole conduct is regu- 
lated according to some general maxims early implanted in his 
mind. The moral laws that govern him are, to be sure, but 
few ; but then he conforms to them all ; the white man 
abounds in laws of religion, morals, and manners, but how 
many does he violate ! 

A frequent ground of accusation against the Indians is their 
disregard of treaties, and the treachery and wantonness with 
which, in time of apparent peace, they will suddenly fly to 
hostilities. The intercourse of the white men with the Indians, 
however, is too apt to be cold, distrustful, oppressive, and in- 
sulting. They seldom treat them with that confidence and 
frankness which are indispensable to real friendship ; nor is 
sufficient caution observed not to offend against those feelings 
of pride or superstition, which often prompt the Indian to hos- 
tility quicker than mere considerations of interest. The solitary 


savage feels silently, but acutely. His sensibilities are not 
diffused over so wide a surface as those of the white man ; but 
the} 7 run in steadier and deeper channels. His pride, his affec- 
tions, his superstitions, are all directed towards fewer objects ; 
but the wounds inflicted on them are proper tionably severe, 
and furnish motives of hostility which we cannot sufficiently 
appreciate. Where a community is also limited in number, and 
forms one great patriarchal family, as in an Indian tribe, the 
injury of an individual is the injury of the whole, and the senti- 
ment of vengeance is almost instantaneously diffused. One 
council-fire is sufficient for the discussion and arrangement of 
a plan of hostilities. Here all the fighting men and sages 
assemble. Eloquence and superstition combine to inflame the 
minds of the warriors. The orator awakens their martial ardor, 
and they are wrought up to a kind of religious desperation, by 
the visions of the prophet and the* dreamer. 

An instance of one of those sudden exasperations, arising 
from a motive peculiar to the Indian character, is extant in an 
old record of the early settlement of Massachusetts. The 
planters of Plymouth had defaced the monuments of the dead 
at Passonagessit, and had plundered the grave of the Sachem's 
mother of some skins with which it had been decorated. The 
Indians are remarkable for the reverence which they entertain 
for the sepulchres of their kindred. Tribes that have passed 
generations exiled from the abodes of their ancestors, when by 
chance they have been travelling in the vicinit} 7 , have been 
known to turn aside from the highway, and, guided by wonder- 
fully accurate tradition, have crossed the country for miles to 
some tumulus, buried perhaps in woods, where the bones of 
their tribe were anciently deposited ; and there have passed 
hours in silent meditation. Influenced by this sublime and 
holy feeling, the Sachem, whose mother's tomb had been vio- 
lated, gathered his men together, and addressed them in the 
following beautifully simple and pathetic harangue ; a curious 
specimen of Indian eloquence, and an affecting instance of filial 
piety in a savage : 

" When last the glorious light of all the sky was underneath 
this globe, and birds grew silent, I began to settle, as my cus- 
tom is, to take repose. Before mine eyes were fast closed, 
methought I saw a vision, at which my spirit was much 
troubled ; and trembling at that doleful sight, a spirit cried 
aloud, 'Behold, my son, whom I have cherished, see the breasts 
that gave thee suck, the hands that lapped thee warm, and fed 
thee oft. Canst thou forget to take revenge of those wild 


people, who have defaced my monument in a despiteful manner, 
disdaining our antiquities and honorable customs? See, now, 
the Sachem's grave lies like the common people, defaced by an 
ignoble race. Thy mother doth complain, and implores thy aid 
against this thievish people, who have newly intruded on out 
iand. If this be suffered, I shall not rest quiet in my everlast- 
ing habitation.' This said, the spirit vanished, and I, all in a 
sweat, not able scarce to speak, began to get some strength, 
and recollect my spirits that were fled, and determined to demand 
your counsel and assistance." 

I have adduced this anecdote at some length, as it tends to 
show how these sudden acts of hostility, which have been at- 
tributed to caprice and perfidy, may often arise from deep and 
generous motives, which our inattention to Indian character 
and customs prevents our properly appreciating. 

Another ground of violent outcry against the Indians, is their 
barbarity to the vanquished. This had its origin partly in policy 
and partly in superstition. The tribes, though sometimes called 
nations, were never so formidable in their numbers, but that 
the loss of several warriors was sensibly felt ; this was particu- 
larly the case when they had been frequently engaged in war- 
fare ; and many an instance occurs in Indian history, where a 
tribe, that had long been formidable to its neighbors, has been 
broken up and driven away, by the capture and massacre of its 
principal fighting men. There was a strong temptation, there- 
fore, to the victor, to be merciless ; not so much to gratify any 
cruel revenge, as to provide for future security. The Indians 
had also the superstitious belief, frequent among barbarous 
nations, and prevalent also among the ancients, that the manes 
of their friends who had fallen in battle were soothed by the 
blood of the captives. The prisoners, however, who are not 
thus sacrificed, are adopted into their families in the place of 
the slain, and are treated with the confidence and affection of 
relatives and friends ; nay, so hospitable and tender is their 
entertainment, that when the alternative is offered them, they 
will often prefer to remain with their adopted brethren, rather 
than return to the home and the friends of their youth. 

The cruelty of the Indians towards their prisoners has been 
heightened since the colonization of the whites. What was 
formerly a compliance with policy and superstition, has been 
exasperated into a gratification of vengeance. They cannot but 
be sensible that the white men are the usurpers of their ancient 
dominion, the cause of their degradation, and the gradual de- 
stroyers of their race. They go forth to battle, smarting with 


injuries and indignities which they have individually suffered, 
and they are driven to madness and despair b}' the wide-spread- 
ing desolation, and the overwhelming ruin of European warfare. 
The whites have too frequently set them an example of violence, 
by burning their villages and laying waste their slender means 
of subsistence ; and yet they wonder that savages do not show 
moderation and magnanimity towards those who have left them 
nothing but mere existence and wretchedness. 

We stigmatize the Indians, also, as cowardly and treacherous, 
because they use stratagem in warfare, in preference to open 
force ; but in this they are fully justified by their rude code of 
honor. They are early taught that stratagem is praiseworthy : 
the bravest warrior thinks it no disgrace to lurk in silence, and 
take every advantage of his foe : he triumphs in the superior 
craft and sagacity by which he has been enabled to surprise and 
destroy an enemy. Indeed, man is naturally more prone to 
subtilty than open valor, owing to his physical weakness in 
comparison with other animals. They are endowed with natu- 
ral weapons of defence : with horns, with tusks, with hoofs, 
and talons : but man has to depend on his superior sagacity. 
In all his encounters with these, his proper enemies, he resorts 
to stratagem ; and when he perversely turns his hostility against 
his fellow-man, he at first continues the same subtle mode of 

The natural principle of war is to do the most harm to our 
enemy, with the least harm to ourselves ; and this of course is 
to be effected by stratagem. That chivalrous courage which 
induces us to despise the suggestions of prudence, and to rush 
in the face of certain danger, is the offspring of society-, and 
produced by education. It is honorable, because it is in fact 
the triumph of lofty sentiment over an instinctive repugnance 
to pain, and over those yearnings after personal ease and 
security, which society has condemned as ignoble. It is kept 
alive by pride and the fear of shame ; and thus the dread of 
real evil is overcome by the superior, dread of an evil which 
exists but in the imagination. It has been cherished and stimu- 
lated also by various means. It has been the theme of spirit- 
stirring song and chivalrous story. The poet and minstrel have 
delighted to shed round it the splendors of fiction ; and even 
the historian has forgotten the sober gravity of narration, and 
broken forth into enthusiasm and rhapsody in its praise. Tri- 
umphs and gorgeous pageants have been its reward : monu- 
ments, on which art has exhausted its skill, and opulence its 
treasures, have been erected to perpetuate a nation's gratitude 


and admiration. Thus artificially excited, courage has risen to 
an extraordinary and factitious degree of heroism ; and, arrayed 
in all the glorious " pomp and circumstance of war," this turbu- 
lent quality has even been able to eclipse many of those quiet, 
but invaluable virtues, which silently ennoble the human char- 
acter, and swell the tide of human happiness. 

But if courage intrinsically consists in the defiance of danger 
and pain, the Hfe of the Indian is a continual exhibition of it. 
He lives in a state of perpetual hostility and risk. Peril and 
adventure are congenial to his nature ; or rather seem neces- 
sary to arouse his faculties and to give an interest to his exist- 
ence. Surrounded by hostile tribes whose mode of warfare is 
by ambush and surprisal, he is always prepared for fight, and 
lives with his weapons in his hands. As the ship careers in 
fearful singleness through the solitudes of ocean, as the bird 
mingles among clouds and storms, and wings its way, a mere 
speck, across the pathless fields of air ; so the Indian holds his 
course, silent, solitary, but undaunted, through the boundless 
bosom of the wilderness. His expeditions may vie in distance 
and danger with the pilgrimage of the devotee, or the crusade 
of the knight-errant. He traverses vast forests, exposed to the 
hazards of lonely sickness, of lurking enemies, and pining 
famine. Stormy lakes, those great inland seas, are no obsta- 
cles to his wanderings : in his light canoe of bark, he sports 
like a feather on their waves, and darts with the swiftness of 
an arrow down the roaring rapids of the rivers. His very sub- 
sistence is snatched from the midst of toil and peril. He gains 
his food by the hardships and dangers of the chase ; he wraps 
himself in the spoils of the bear, the panther, and the buffalo ; 
and sleeps among the thunders of the cataract. 

No hero of ancient or modern days can surpass the Indian in 
his lofty contempt of death, and the fortitude with which he 
sustains its cruelest infliction. Indeed, we here behold him 
rising superior to the white man, in consequence of his peculiar 
education. The latter rushes to glorious death at the cannon's 
mouth ; the former calmly contemplates its approach, and tri- 
umphantly endures it, amidst the varied torments of surround- 
ing foes, and the protracted agonies of fire. He even takes a 
pride in taunting his persecutors, and provoking their ingenuity 
of torture ; and as the devouring flames prey on his very vitals, 
and the flesh shrinks from the sinews, he raises his last song of 
triumph, breathing the defiance of an uncouquered heart, and 
invoking the spirits of his fathers to witness that he dies with- 


Notwithstanding the obloquy with which the early historians 
have overshadowed the characters of the unfortunate natives, 
some bright gleams occasionally break through, which throw a 
degree of melancholy lustre on their memories. Facts are occa- 
sionally to be met with in the rude annals of the eastern prov- 
inces, which, though recorded with the coloring of prejudice 
and bigotry, yet speak for themselves ; and will be dvvelt on 
with applause and sympathy, when prejudice shall have passed 

In one of the homely narratives of the Indian wars in New 
England, there is a touching account of the desolation carried 
into the tribe of the Pequod Indians. Humanity shrinks from 
the cold-blooded detail of indiscriminate butchery. In one 
place we read of the surprisal of an Indian fort in the night, 
when the wigwams were wrapped in flames, and the miserable 
inhabitants shot down and slain in attempting to escape, "all 
being despatched and ended in the course of an hour." After 
a series of similar transactions, "our soldiers," as the histo- 
rian piously observes, "being resolved by God's assistance to 
make a final destruction of them," the unhappy savages being 
hunted from their homes and fortresses, and pursued with fire 
and sword, a scanty but gallant band, the sad remnant of the 
Pequod warriors, with their wives and children, took refuge in 
a swamp. 

Burning with indignation, and rendered sullen by despair ; 
with hearts bursting with grief at the destruction of their tribe, 
and spirits galled and sore at the fancied ignominy of their 
defeat, they refused to ask their lives at the hands of an insult- 
ing foe, and preferred death to submission. 

As the night drew on, they were surrounded in their dismal 
retreat, so as to render escape impracticable. Thus situated, 
their enemy " plied them with shot all the time, by which 
means many were killed and buried m the mire." In the 
darkness and fog that preceded the dawn of day, some few 
broke through the besiegers and escaped into the woods : " the 
rest were left to the conquerors, of which many were killed in 
the swamp; like sullen dogs who would rather, in their self- 
willed ness and madness, sit still and be shot through, or cut to 
pieces," than implore for mercy. When the day broke upon 
this handful of forlorn but dauntless spirits, the soldiers, we 
are told, entering the swamp, " saw several heaps of them sit- 
ting close together, upon whom the}* discharged their pieces, 
laden with ten or twelve pistol-bullets at a time ; putting the 
muzzles of the pieces under the boughs, within a few yards of 


them ; so as, besides those that were found dead, many more 
were killed and sunk into the mire, and never were minded 
more by friend or foe." 

Can any one read this plain unvarnished tale, without ad- 
miring the stern resolution, the unbending pride, the loftiness 
of spirit, that seemed to nerve the hearts of these self-taught 
heroes, and to raise them above the instinctive feelings of 
human nature? When the Gauls laid waste the city of Rome, 
they found the senators clothed in their robes and seated with 
stern tranquillity in their curule chairs ; in this manner they 
suffered death without resistance or even supplication. Such 
conduct was, in them, applauded as noble and magnanimous 
in the hapless Indians, it was reviled as obstinate and sullen. 
How truly are we the dupes of show and circumstance ! How 
different is virtue, clothed in purple and enthroned in state, 
from virtue naked and destitute, and perishing obscurely in a 
wilderness ! 

But I forbear to dwell on these gloomy pictures. The east- 
ern tribes have long since disappeared ; the forests that shel- 
tered them have been laid low, and scarce airy traces remain of 
them in the thickly-settled states of New-England, excepting 
here and there the Indian name of a village or a stream. And 
such must sooner or later be the fate of those other tribes 
which skirt the frontiers, and have occasionally been inveigled 
from their forests to mingle in the wars of white men. In a 
little while, and they will go the way that their brethren have 
gone before. The few hordes which still linger about the 
shores of Huron and Superior, and the tributary streams of 
the Mississippi, will share the fate of those tribes that once 
spread over Massachusetts and Connecticut, and lorded it 
along the proud banks of the Hudson ; of that gigantic race 
said to have existed on the borders of the Susquehanna ; and 
of those various nations that flourished about the Potomac 
and the Rappahannock, and that peopled the forests of the vast 
valley of Shenandoah. They will vanish like a vapor from 
the face of the earth ; their very history will be lost in forget- 
fuluess ; and " the places that now know them will know them 
no more forever." Or if, perchance, some dubious memorial 
of them should survive, it may be in the romantic dreams of 
the poet, to people in imagination his glades and groves, like 
the fauns and satyrs and sylvan deities of antiquity. But 
should he venture upon the dark story of their wrongs and 
wretchedness ; should he tell how they were invaded, cor- 
rupted, despoiled ; driven from their native abodes and the 


sepulchres of their fathers ; hunted like wild beasts about the 
earth ; and sent down with violence and butchery to the grave 
posterity will either turn with horror and incredulity from 
the tale, or blush with indignation at the inhumanity of their 
forefathers. "We are driven back," said an old warrior, 
"until we can retreat no farther our hatchets are broken, 
our bows are snapped, our fires are nearly extinguished a 
little longer and the white man will cease to persecute us for 
we shall cease to exist." 



As monumental bronze unchanged his look : 

A soul that pity touch'd, but never shook; 

Train'd, from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier, 

The fierce extremes of good and ill to brook 

Impassive fearing but the shame of fear 

A stoic of the woods a man without a tear. CAMPBELL. 

IT is to be regretted that those early writers who treated of 
the discovery and settlement of America have not given us 
more particular and candid accounts of the remarkable charac- 
ters that flourished in savage life. The scanty anecdotes which 
have reached us are full of peculiarity and interest ; they fur- 
nish us with nearer glimpses of human nature, and show what 
man is in a comparatively primitive state, and what he owes to 
civilization. There is something of the charm of discovery 
in lighting upon these wild and unexplored tracts of human 
nature ; in witnessing, as it were, the native growth of moral 
sentiment ; and perceiving those generous and romantic quali- 
ties which have been artificially cultivated by society, vegetating 
in spontaneous hardihood and rude magnificence. 

In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost the 
existence, of man depends so much upon the opinion of his 
fellow-men, he is constantly acting a studied part. The bold 
and peculiar traits of native character are refined away, or 
softened down by the levelling influence of what is termed 
good breeding ; and he practises so many petty deceptions, and 
affects so many generous sentiments, for the purposes of popu- 
larity, that it is difficult to distinguish his real from his arti- 


ficial character. The Indian, on the contrary, free from the 
restraints and refinements of polished life, and, in a great 
degree, a solitary and independent being, obeys the impulses 
of his inclination or the dictates of his judgment ; and thus the 
attributes of his nature, being freely indulged, grow singly 
great and striking. Society is like a lawn, where every rough- 
ness is smoothed, every bramble eradicated, and where the eye 
is delighted b}' the smiling verdure of a velvet surface;. he, 
however, who would study Nature in its wildness and variety, 
must plunge into the forest, must explore the glen, must stem 
the torrent, and dare the precipice. 

These reflections arose on casually looking through a volume 
of early colonial history, wherein are recorded, with great bit- 
terness, the outrages of the Indians, and their wars with the 
settlers of New-England. It is painful to perceive, even from 
these partial narratives, how the footsteps of civilization may 
be traced in the blood of the aborigines ; how easily the colo- 
nists were moved to hostility by the lust of conquest; how 
merciless and exterminating was their warfare. The imagina- 
tion shrinks at the idea, how many intellectual beings were 
hunted from the earth how many brave and noble hearts, of 
Nature's sterling coinage, were broken down and trampled in 
the dust ! 

Such was the fate of PHILIP OF POKANOKET, an Indian war- 
rior, whose name was once a terror throughout Massachusetts 
and Connecticut. He was the most distinguished of a number 
of contemporary Sachems, who reigned over the Pequods, the 
Narragansets, the Wampanoags, and the other eastern tribes, 
at the time of the first settlement of New-England : a band of 
native untaught heroes ; who made the most generous struggle 
of which human nature is capable ; fighting to the last gasp in 
the cause of their country, without a hope of victory or a 
thought of renown. Worthy of an age of poetry, and fit sub- 
jects for local story and romantic fiction, they have left scarcely 
any authentic traces on the page of history, but stalk, like gi- 
gantic shadows, in the dim twilight of tradition. 1 

When the Pilgrims, as the Plymouth settlers are called by 
their descendants, first took refuge on the shores of the New 
World, from the religious persecutions of the Old, their situa- 
tion was to the last degree gloomy and disheartening. Few in 
number, and that number rapidly perishing away through sick- 

1 While correcting the proof-sheets of this article, the author is informed, that a 
celebrated English poet has nearly finished an heroic poem on the story of Philip of 


ness and hardships ; surrounded by a howling wilderness and 
savage tribes ; exposed to the rigors of an almost arctic win- 
ter, and the vicissitudes of an ever-shifting climate ; their minds 
were filled with doleful forebodings, and nothing preserved 
them from sinking into despondency but the strong excitement 
of religious enthusiasm. In this forlorn situation they were 
visited by Massasoit, chief Sagamore of the Wampanoags, a 
powerful chief, who reigned over a great extent of country. 
Instead of taking advantage of the scanty number of the stran- 
gers, and expelling them from his territories into which they had 
intruded, he seemed at once to conceive for them a generous 
friendship, and extended towards them the rights of primitive 
hospitality. He came early in the spring to their settlement 
of New-Plymouth, attended by a mere handful of followers ; 
entered into a solemn league of peace and amity ; sold them a 
portion of the soil, and promised to secure for them the good- 
will of his savage allies. Whatever may be said of Indian 
perfidy, it is certain that the integrity and good faith of Mas- 
sasoit have never been impeached. He continued a firm and 
magnanimous friend of the white men ; suffering them to ex- 
tend their possessions, and to strengthen themselves in the 
land ; and betraying no jealousy of their increasing power and 
prosperity. Shortly before his death, he came once more to 
New-Plymouth, with his son Alexander, for the purpose of 
renewing the covenant of peace, and of securing it to his pos- 

At this conference, he endeavored to protect the religion of 
his forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the missionaries ; 
and stipulated that no further attempt should be made to draw 
off his people from their ancient faith ; but, finding the English 
obstinately opposed to any such condition, he mildly relin- 
quished the demand. Almost the last act of his life was to 
bring his two sons, Alexander and Philip (as they had been 
named by the English) to the residence of a principal settler, 
recommending mutual kindness and confidence ; and entreating 
that the same love and amity which had existed between the 
white men and himself, might be continued afterwards with his 
children. The good old Sachem died in peace, and was happily 
gathered to his fathers before sorrow came upon his tribe ; his 
children remained behind to experience the ingratitude of white 

His eldest son, Alexander, succeeded him. He was of a quick 
and impetuous temper, and proudly tenacious of his hereditary 
rights and dignity. The intrusive policy and dictatorial con- 


duct of the strangers excited his indignation ; and he beheld 
with uneasiness their exterminating wars with the neighboring 
tribes. He was doomed soon to incur their hostility, being 
accused of plotting with the Narragansets to rise against the 
English and drive them from the land. It is impossible to say 
whether this accusation was warranted by facts, or was grounded 
on mere suspicions. It is evident, however, by the violent and 
overbearing measures of the settlers, that they had by this time 
begun to feel conscious of the rapid increase of their power, 
and to grow harsh and inconsiderate in their treatment of the 
natives. They despatched an armed force to seize upon Alex- 
ander, and to bring him before their courts. He was traced to 
his woodland haunts, and surprised at a hunting house, where 
he was reposing with a band of his followers, unarmed, after the 
toils of the chase. The suddenness of his arrest, and the out- 
rage offered to his sovereign dignity, so preyed upon the irasci- 
ble feelings of this proud savage, as to throw him into a raging 
fever ; he was permitted to return home on condition of sending 
his son as a pledge for his reappearance ; but the blow he had 
received was fatal, and before he had reached his home he fell 
a victim to the agonies of a wounded spirit. 

The successor of Alexander was Metacomet, or King Philip, 
as he was called by the settlers, on account of his lofty spirit 
and ambitious temper. These, together with his well-known 
energy and enterprise, had rendered him au object of great 
jealousy and apprehension, and he was accused of having always 
cherished a secret and implacable hostility towards the whites. 
Such ma}* very probably, and very naturally, have been the 
case. He considered them as originally but mere intruders into 
the country, who had presumed upon indulgence, and were ex- 
tending an influence baneful to savage life. He saw the whole 
race of his countrymen melting before them from the face of 
the earth ; their territories slipping from their hands, and their 
tribes becoming feeble, scattered, and dependent. It may be 
said that the soil was originally purchased by the settlers ; but 
who does not know the nature of Indian purchases, in the early 
periods of colonization? The Europeans always made thrifty 
bargains, through their superior adroitness in traffic ; and they 
gained vast accessions of territory, by easily-provoked hostili- 
ties. An uncultivated savage is never a nice inquirer into the 
refinements of law, by which an injury may be gradually and 
legall} r inflicted. Leading facts are all by which he judges ; 
and it was enough for Philip to know, that before the intrusion 
of the Europeans his countrymen were lords of the soil, and 


that now they were becoming vagabonds in the land of their 

But whatever may have been his feelings of general hostility, 
and his particular indignation at the treatment of his brother, 
he suppressed them for the present ; renewed the contract with 
the settlers, and resided peaceably for many years at Pokano- 
ket, or, as it was called by the English, Mount Hope, 1 the an- 
cient seat of dominion of his tribe. Suspicions, however, 
which were at first but vague and indefinite, began to acquire 
form and substance ; and he was at length charged with at- 
tempting to instigate the various eastern tribes to rise at once, 
and, by a simultaneous effort, to throw off the yoke of their 
oppressors. It is difficult at this distant period to assign the 
proper credit due to these early accusations against the Indians. 
There was a proneness to suspicion, and an aptness to acts 
of violence on the part of the whites, that gave weight and 
importance to every idle tale. Informers abounded, where tale- 
bearing met with countenance and reward ; and the sword was 
readily unsheathed, when its success was certain, and it carved 
out empire. 

The only positive evidence on record against Philip is the 
accusation of one Sausaman, a renegado Indian, whose natural 
cunning had been quickened by a partial education which he 
had received among the settlers. He changed his faith and his 
allegiance two or three times, with a facility that evinced the 
looseness of his principles. He had acted for some time as 
Philip's confidential secretary and counsellor, and had enjoyed 
his bounty and protection. Finding, however, that the clouds 
of adversity were gathering round his patron, he abandoned 
his service and went over to the whites ; and, in order to gain 
their favor, charged his former benefactor with plotting against 
their safety. A rigorous investigation took place. Philip and 
several of his subjects submitted to be examined, but nothing 
was proved against them. The settlers, however, had now 
gone too far to retract ; they had previously determined that 
Philip was a dangerous neighbor ; they had publicly evinced 
their distrust ; and had done enough to insure his hostility ; 
according, therefore, to the usual mode of reasoning in these 
cases, his destruction had become necessary to their security. 
Sausaman, the treacherous informer, was shortly afterwards 
found dead in a pond, having fallen a victim to the vengeance of 
his tribe. Three Indians, one of whom was a friend and counsel- 

1 Xow Bristol, Rhode Island. 


lor of Philip, were apprehended and tried, and, on the testimony 
of one very questionable witness, were condemned and executed 
as murderers. 

This treatment of his subjects and ignominious punishment 
of his friend, outraged the pride and exasperated the passions 
of Philip. The bolt which had fallen thus at his very feet, 
awakened him to the gathering storm, and he determined to 
trust himself no longer in the power of the white men. The 
fate of his insulted and broken-hearted brother still rankled in 
his mind ; and he had a further warning in the tragical story of 
Miantonimo, a great sachem of the Narragansets, who, after 
manfully facing his accusers before a tribunal of the colonists, 
exculpating himself from a charge of conspiracy, and receiving 
assurances of amity, had been perfidiously despatched at their in- 
stigation. Philip, therefore, gathered his fighting men about him ; 
persuaded all strangers that he could, to join his cause ; 'sent the 
women and children to the Narragansets for safety ; and wher- 
ever he appeared, was continually surrounded by armed warriors. 

When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust and 
irritation, the least spark was sufficient to set them in a flame. 
The Indians, having weapons in their hands, grew mischievous, 
and committed various petty depredations. In one of their 
maraudings, a warrior was fired on and killed by a settler. 
This was the signal for open hostilities ; the Indians pressed to 
revenge the death of their comrade, and the alarm of war 
resounded through the Plymouth colony. 

In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy times, 
we meet with many indications of the diseased state of the 
public mind. The gloom of religious abstraction, and the wild- 
ness of their situation, among trackless forests and savage 
tribes, had disposed the colonists to superstitious fancies, and 
had filled their imaginations with the frightful chimeras of 
witchcraft and spectrology. They were much given also to a 
belief in omens. The troubles with Philip and his Indians 
were preceded, we are told, by a variety of those awful warn- 
ings which forerun great and public calamities. The perfect 
form of an Indian bow appeared in the air at New-Plymouth, 
which was looked upon by the inhabitants as a " prodigious 
apparition." At Hadley, Northampton, and other towns in 
their neighborhood, u was heard the report of a great piece of 
ordnance, with the shaking of the earth and a considerable 
echo." 1 Others were alarmed on a still sunshiny morning, by 

1 The Rev. Increase Mather's History. 


the discharge of guns and muskets ; bullets seemed to whistle 
past them, and the noise of drums resounded in the air, seem 
ing to pass away to the westward ; others fancied that they 
heard the galloping of horses over their heads ; and certain 
monstrous births which took place about the time, filled the 
superstitious in some towns with doleful forebodings. Many 
of these portentous sights' and sounds may be ascribed to 
natural phenomena ; to the northern lights which occur vividly 
in those latitudes ; the meteors which explode in the air ; the 
casual rushing of a blast through the top branches of the forest ; 
the crash of falling trees or disrupted rocks ; and to those other 
uncouth sounds and echoes, which will sometimes strike the 
ear so strangely amidst the profound stillness of woodland soli- 
tudes. These may have startled some melancholy imaginations, 
may have been exaggerated by the love for the marvellous, and 
listened to with that avidity with which we devour whatever 
is fearful and mysterious. The universal currency of these 
superstitious fancies, and the grave record made of them by one 
of the learned men of the day, are strongly characteristic of the 

The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too often 
distinguishes the warfare between civilized men and savages. 
On the part of the whites, it was conducted with superior skill 
and success ; but with a wastefulness of the blood, and a disre- 
gard of the natural rights of their antagonists : on the part of 
the Indians it was waged with the desperation of men fearless 
of death, and who had nothing to expect from peace, but hu- 
miliation, dependence, and decay. 

The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy 
clergyman of the time, who dwells with horror and indignation 
on every hostile act of the Indians, however justifiable, whilst 
he mentions with applause the most sanguinary atrocities of 
the whites. Philip is reviled as a murderer and a traitor; 
without considering that he was a true-born prince, gallantly 
fighting at the head of his subjects to avenge the wrongs of his 
family ; to retrieve the tottering power of his line ; and to de- 
liver his native land from the oppression of usurping strangers. 

The project of a wide and simultaneous revolt, if such had 
really been formed, was worthy of a capacious mind, and, had 
it not been prematurely discovered, might have been over- 
whelming in its consequences. The war that actually broke 
out was but a war of detail ; a mere succession of casual ex- 
ploits and unconnected enterprises. Still it sets forth the 
military genius and daring prowess of Philip ; and wherever, in 


the prejudiced and passionate narrations that have been given 
of it, we can arrive at simple facts, we find him displaying a 
vigorous mind ; a fertility of expedients ; a contempt of suffer- 
ing and hardship ; and an unconquerable resolution, that com- 
mand our sympathy and applause. 

Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hope, he threw 
himself into the depths of those vast and trackless forests that 
skirted the settlements, and were almost impervious to any 
thing but a wild beast or an Indian. Here he gathered to- 
gether his forces, like the storm accumulating its stores of mis- 
chief in the bosom of the thunder-cloud, and would suddenly 
emerge at a time and place least expected, carrying havoc and 
dismay into the villages. There were now and then indications 
of these impending ravages, that filled the minds of the colo- 
nists with awe and apprehension. The report of* a distant gun 
would perhaps be heard from the solitary woodland, where 
there was known to be no white man ; the cattle which had 
been wandering in the woods would sometimes return home 
wounded ; or an Indian or two would be seen lurking about 
the skirts of the forest, and suddenly disappearing ; as the 
lightning will sometimes be seen playing silently about the edge 
of the cloud that is brewing up the tempest. 

Though sometimes pursued, and even surrounded by the 
settlers, 3 T et Philip as often escaped almost miraculously from 
their toils ; and plunging into the wilderness, would be lost to 
all search or inquiry until he again emerged at some far dis- 
tant quarter, laying the country desolate. Among his strong- 
holds were the great swamps or morasses, which extend in 
some parts of New-E)ngland ; composed of loose bogs of deep 
black mud ; perplexed with thickets, brambles, rank weeds, 
the shattered and mouldering trunks of fallen trees, over- 
shadowed by lugubrious hemlocks. The uncertain footing and 
the tangled mazes of these shaggy wilds, rendered them almost 
impracticable to the white man, though the Indian could 
thrid their labyrinths with the agility o*f a deer. Into one of 
these, the great swamp of Pocasset Neck, was Philip once 
driven with a band of his followers. The English did not dare 
to pursue him, fearing to venture into these dark and frightful 
recesses, where they might perish in fens and miry pits, or be 
shot down by lurking foes. They therefore invested the en- 
trance to the neck, and began to build a fort, with the thought 
of starving out the foe ; but Philip and his warriors wafted 
themselves on a raft over an arm of the sea, in the dead of 
night, leaving the women and children behind ; and escaped 


away to the westward, kindling the flames of war among the 
tribes of Massachusetts and the Nipmnck country, and threat- 
ening the colony -of Connecticut. 

In this way Philip became a theme of universal apprehen- 
sion. The mystery in which he was enveloped exaggerated 
his real terrors. He was an evil that walked in darkness ; whose 
coming none could foresee, and against which none knew 
when to be on the alert. The whole country abounded with 
rumors and alarms. Philip seemed almost possessed of ubiq- 
uity ; for, in whatever part of the widely extended frontier 
an irruption from the forest took place, Philip was said to be 
its leader. Many superstitious notions also were circulated 
concerning him. He was said to deal in necromancy, and to 
be attended by an old Indian witch or prophetess, whom he 
consulted, and who assisted him by her charms and incanta- 
tions. This indeed was frequently the case with Indian chiefs ; 
either through their own credulit}', or to act upon that of their 
followers : and the influence of the prophet and the dreamer 
over Indian superstition has been fully evidenced in recent 
instances of savage warfare. 

At the time that Philip effected his escape from Pocasset, 
his fortunes were in a desperate condition. His forces had 
been thinned by repeated fights, and he had lost almost the 
whole of his resources. In this time of adversity he found a 
faithful friend in Canonchet, Chief Sachem of all the Narra- 
gansets. He was the son and heir of Miantonimo, the great 
Sachem, who, as already mentioned, after an honorable ac- 
quital of the charge of conspiracy, had been privately put to 
death at the perfidious instigations of the settlers. " He was 
the heir," says the old chronicler, " of all his father's pride and 
insolence, as well as of his malice towards the English;" he 
certainly was the heir of his insults and injuries, and the 
legitimate avenger of his murder. Though he had forborne to 
take an active part in this hopeless war, yet he received Philip 
and his broken forces with open arms ; and gave them the 
most generous countenance and support. This at once drew 
upon him the hostility of the English ; and it was determined 
to strike a signal blow, that should involve both the Sachems 
in one common ruin. A great force was, therefore, gathered 
together from Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, and 
was sent into the Narraganset country in the depth of winter, 
when the swamps, being frozen and leafless, could be traversed 
with comparative facility, and would no longer afford dark and 
impenetrable fastnesses to the Indians. 


Apprehensive of attack, Canonchet had conveyed the greater 
part of his stores, together with the old, the infirm, the women 
and children of his tribe, to a strong fortress ; where he and 
Philip had likewise drawn up the flower of their forces. This 
fortress, deemed by the Indians impregnable, was situated 
upon a rising mound or kind of island, of five or six acres, in 
the midst of a swamp ; it was constructed with a degree of 
judgment and skill vastly superior to what is usually displayed 
in Indian fortification, and indicative of the martial genius of 
these two chieftains. 

Guided by a renegade Indian, the English penetrated, through 
December snows, to this stronghold, and came upon the garri- 
son by surprise. The fight was fierce and tumultuous. The 
assailants were repulsed in their first attack, and several of 
their bravest officers were shot down in the act of storming the 
fortress, sword in hand. The assault was renewed with greater 
success. A lodgement was effected. The Indians were driven 
from one post to another. They disputed their ground inch by 
inch, fighting with the fury of despair. Most of their veterans 
were cut to pieces ; and after a long and bloody battle, Philip 
and Canonchet, with a handful of surviving warriors, retreated 
from the fort, and took refuge in the thickets of the surround- 
ing forest. 

The victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the whole 
was soon in a blaze ; many of the old men, the women and the 
children, perished in the flames. This last outrage overcame 
even the stoicism of the savage. The neighboring woods re- 
sounded with the yells of rage and despair, uttered by the fugi- 
tive warriors as they beheld the destruction of their dwellings, 
and heard the agonizing cries of their wives and offspring. 
"The burning of the wigwams," says a contemporary writer, 
" the shrieks and cries of the women and children, and the yell- 
ing of the warriors, exhibited a most horrible and affecting 
scene, so that it greatly moved some of the soldiers." The 
same writer cautiously adds, " they were in much doubt then, 
and afterwards seriously inquired, whether burning their ene- 
mies alive could be consistent with humanity, and the benevo- 
lent principles of the gospel." 1 

The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy of 
particular mention : the last scene of his life is one of the 
noblest instances on record of Indian magnanimity. 

Broken down in his power and resources by this signal de- 

i MS. of the Rev. W. Ruggles. 


feat, yet faithful to his ally and to the hapless cause which he 
had espoused, he rejected all overtures of peace, offered on con- 
dition of betiding Philip and his followers, and declared that 
" he would fight it out to the last man, rather than become a 
servant to the English.'* His home being destroyed ; his coun- 
try harassed and laid waste by the incursions of the conquerors ; 
he was obliged to wander away to the banks of the Connecti- 
cut ; where he formed a rallying point to the whole body of 
western Indians, and laid waste several of the English settle- 

Early in the spring, he departed on a hazardous expedition, 
with only thirty chosen men, to penetrate to Seaconck, in the 
vicinity of Mount Hope, and to procure seed-corn to plant for 
the sustenance of his troops. This little band of adventurers 
had passed safely through the Pequod country, and were in the 
centre of the Narraganset, resting at some wigwams near Paw- 
tucket river, when an alarm was given of an approaching 
enemy. Having but seven men by him at the time, Canonchet 
despatched two of them to the top of a neighboring hill, to 
bring intelligence of the foe. 

Panic-struck by .the appearance of a troop of English and 
Indians rapidly advancing, they fled in breathless terror past 
their chieftain, without stopping to inform him of the danger. 
Canonchet sent another scout, w r ho did the same. He then 
sent two more, one of whom, hurrying back in confusion and 
affright, told him that the whole British army was at hand. 
Canonchet saw there was no choice but immediate flight. He 
attempted to escape round the hill, but was perceived and hotly 
pursued by the hostile Indians, and a few of the fleetest of the 
English. Finding the swiftest pursuer close upon his heels, he 
threw off, first his blanket, then his silver-laced coat and belt 
of peag, by which his enemies knew him to be Canonchet, and 
redoubled the eagerness of pursuit. 

At length, in dashing through the river, his foot slipped upon 
a stone, and he fell so deep as to wet his gun. This accident 
so struck him with despair, that, as he afterwards confessed, 
" his heart and his bowels turned within him, and he became 
like a rotten stick, void of strength." 

To such a degree was he unnerved, that, being seized by a 
Pequod Indian within a short distance of the river, he made no 
resistance, though a man of great vigor of body and boldness 
of heart. But on being made prisoner, the whole pride of his 
spirit arose within him ; and from that moment, we find, in the 
anecdotes given by his enemies, nothing but repeated flashes 


Df elevated and prince-like heroism. Being questioned by one 
of the English who first came up with him, and who had not 
attained his twenty-second year, the proud-hearted warrior, 
looking with lofty contempt upon his youthful countenance, re- 
plied, "You are a child you cannot understand matters of 
war let your brother or your chief come him will I answer." 

Though repeated offers were made to him of his life, on con- 
dition of submitting with his nation to the English, yet he 
rejected them with disdain, and refused to send any proposals 
of the kind to the great body of his subjects ; saying, that he 
knew none of them would comply. Being reproached with his 
breach of faith towards the whites ; his boast that he would not 
deliver up a Wampanoag, nor the parings of a Wampanoag's 
nail ; and his threat that he would burn the English alive in 
their houses, he disdained to justify himself, haughtily answer- 
ing that others were as forward for the war as himself, " and 
he desired to hear no more thereof." 

So noble and unshaken a spirit, so true a fidelity to his cause 
and his friend, might have touched the feelings of the generous 
and the brave ; but Canonchet was an Indian ; a being towards 
whom war had no courtesy, humanity no law, religion no com- 
passion he was condemned to die. The last words of his that 
are recorded, are worthy the greatness of his soul. When sen- 
tence of death was passed upon him, he observed, "that he 
liked it well, for he should die before his heart was soft, or he 
had spoken any thing unworthy of himself." His enemies gave 
him the death of a soldier, for he was shot at Stoningham, by 
three young Sachems of his own rank. 

The defeat of the Narraganset fortress, and the death of 
Canonchet, were fatal blows to the fortunes of King Philip. 
He made an ineffectual attempt to raise a head of war, by stir- 
ring up the Mohawks to take arms ; but though possessed of 
the native talents of a statesman, his arts were counteracted by 
the superior arts of his enlightened enemies, and the terror of 
their warlike skill began to subdue the resolution of the neigh- 
boring tribes. The unfortunate chieftain saw himself daily 
stripped of power, and his ranks rapidly thinning around him. 
Some were suborned by the whites ; others fell victims to hun- 
ger and fatigue, and to the frequent attacks by which they were 
harassed. His stores were all captured ; his chosen friends 
were swept away from before his eyes ; his uncle was shot down 
by his side ; his sister was carried into captivity ; and in one of 
his narrow escapes he was compelled to leave his beloved wife 
and only son to the mercy of the enemy. "His ruin," says 


the historian, " being thus gradually carried on, his misery was 
not prevented, but augmented thereby ; being himself made ac- 
quainted with the sense and experimental feeling of the cap- 
tivity of his children, loss of friends, slaughter of his subjects, 
bereavement of all family relations, and being stripped of all 
outward comforts, before his own life should be taken away." 

To fill up the measure of his misfortunes, his own followers 
began to plot against his life, that by sacrificing him they might 
purchase dishonorable safety. Through treachery, a number 
of his faithful adherents, the subjects of Wetamoe, an Indian 
princess of Pocasset, a near kinswoman and confederate of 
Philip, were betrayed into the hands of the enemy. Wetamoe 
was among them at the time, and attempted to make her escape 
by crossing a neighboring river : either exhausted by swimming, 
or starved by cold and hunger, she wafe found dead and naked 
near the water side. But persecution ceased not at the grave : 
even death, the refuge of the wretched, where the wicked com- 
monly cease from troubling, was no protection to this outcast 
female, whose great crime was affectionate fidelity to her kins- 
man and her friend. Her corpse was the object of unmanly 
and dastardly vengeance ; the head was severed from the body 
and set upon a pole, and was thus exposed, at Taunton, to the 
view of her captive subjects. They immediately recognized 
the features of their unfortunate queen, and were so affected at 
this barbarous spectacle, that we are told they broke forth into 
the " most horrid and diabolical lamentations." 

However Philip had borne up against the complicated mis- 
eries and misfortunes that surrounded him, the treachery of his 
followers seemed to wring his heart and reduce him to despond- 
ency. It is said that " he never rejoiced afterwards, nor had 
success in any of his designs." The spring of hope was broken 
the ardor of enterprise was extinguished: he looked around, 
and all was danger and darkness ; there was no eye to pity, nor 
any arm that could bring deliverance. With a scanty band of 
followers, who still remained true to his desperate fortunes, the 
unhappy Philip wandered back to the vicinity of Mount Hope, 
the ancient dwelling of his fathers. Here he lurked about, like 
a spectre, among the scenes of former power and prosperity, 
now bereft of home, of family, and friend. There needs no 
better picture of his destitute and piteous situation, than that 
furnished by the homely pen of the chronicler, who is unwarily 
enlisting the feelings of the reader in favor of the hapless war- 
rior whom he reviles. " Philip," he saj^s, " like a savage wild 
beast, having been hunted by the English forces through the 


woods above a hundred miles backward and forward, at last 
was driven to his own den upon Mount Hope, where he retired, 
with a few of his best friends, into a swamp, which proved but 
a prison to keep him fast till the messengers of death came by 
divine permission to execute vengeance upon him." 

Even in this last refuge of desperation and despair, a sullen 
grandeur gathers round his memory. We picture him to our- 
selves seated among his care-worn followers, brooding in silence 
over his blasted fortunes, and acquiring a savage sublimity 
from the wildness and dreariness of his lurking-place. De- 
feated, but not disma}-ed crushed to the earth,, but not 
humiliated he seemed to grow more haughty beneath disas- 
ter, and to experience a fierce satisfaction in draining the last 
dregs of bitterness. Little minds are tamed and subdued bj T 
misfortune ; but great minds rise above it. The very idea of 
submission awakened the fury of Philip, and he smote" to death 
one of his followers, who proposed an expedient of peace. The 
brother of the victim made his escape, and in revenge betrayed 
the retreat of his chieftain. A body of white men and Indians 
were immediately despatched to the swamp where Philip lay 
crouched, glaring with fury and despair. Before he was aware 
of their approach, they had begun to surround him. In a little 
while he saw five of his trustiest followers laid dead at his feet ; 
all resistance was vain ; he rushed forth from his covert, and 
made a headlong attempt at escape, but was shot through the 
heart by a renegado Indian of his own nation. 

Such is the scanty story of the brave, but unfortunate King 
Philip ; persecuted while living, slandered and dishonored when 
dead. If, however, we consider even the prejudiced anecdotes 
furnished us by his enemies, we may perceive in them traces of 
amiable and lofty character, sufficient to awaken sympathy for 
his fate and respect for his memory. We find, that amidst all 
the harassing cares and ferocious passions of constant warfare, 
he was alive to the softer feelings of connubial love and 
paternal tenderness, and to the generous sentiment of friend- 
ship. The captivity of his "beloved wife and only son" is 
mentioned with exultation, as causing him poignant misery : 
the death of any near friend is triumphantly recorded as a new 
blow on his sensibilities ; but the treachery and desertion of 
many of his followers, in whose affections he had confided, is 
said to have desolated his heart, and to have bereaved him of 
all further comfort. He was a patriot, attached to his native 
soil a prince true to his subjects, and indignant of their 
wrongs a soldier, daring in battle, firm in adversity, patient 


of fatigue, of hunger, of every variety of bodily suffering, and 
ready to perish in the cause he had espoused. Proud of heart, 
and with an untamable love of natural liberty, he preferred to 
enjoy it among the beasts of the forests, or in the dismal and 
famished recesses of swamps and morasses, rather than bow 
his haughty spirit to submission, and live dependent and de- 
spised in the ease and luxury of the settlements. With heroic 
qualities and bold achievements that would have graced a 
civilized warrior, and have rendered him the theme of the poet 
and the historian, he lived a wanderer and a fugitive in his 
native land, and went down, like a lonely bark, foundering 
amid darkness and tempest without a pitying eye to weep his 
fall, or a friendly hand to record his struggle. 


An old song, made by an aged old pate, 

Of an old worshipful gentleman who had a great estate, 

That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate, 

And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate. 

With an old study filled full of learned old books, 

With an old reverend chaplain, you might know him by his looks, 

With an old buttery-hatch worn quite off the hooks, 

And an old kitchen that maintained half-a-dozen old cooks. 

Like an old courtier, etc. Old Song. 

THERE is no species of humor in which the English more 
excel, than that which consists in caricaturing and giving 
ludicrous appellations or nicknames. In this way they have 
whimsically designated, not merely individuals, but nations ; 
and in their fondness for pushing a joke, they have not spared 
even themselves. One would think that, in personifying itself, 
a nation would be apt to picture something grand, heroic, and 
imposing ; but it is characteristic of the peculiar humor of the 
English, and of their love for what is blunt, comic, and 
familiar, that they have embodied their national oddities in 
the figure of a sturdy, corpulent old fellow, with a three- 
cornered hat, red waistcoat, leather breeches, and stout oaken 
cudgel. Thus they have taken a singular delight in exhibiting 
their most private foibles in a laughable point of view ; and 
have been so successful in their delineations, that there is 


scarcely a being in actual existence more absolutely present 
to the public mind, than that eccentric personage, John Bull. 

Perhaps the continual contemplation of the character thus 
drawn of them, has contributed to fix it upon the nation ; and 
thus to give reality to what at first may have been painted in a 
great measure from the imagination. Men are apt to acquire 
peculiarities that are continually ascribed to them. The com- 
mon orders of English seem wonderfully captivated with the 
beau ideal which they have formed of John Bull, and endeavor 
to act up to the broad caricature that is perpetually before their 
eyes. Unluckily, they sometimes make their boasted Bull-ism 
an apology for their prejudice or grossness ; and this I have 
especially noticed among those truly homebred and genuine 
sons of the soil who have never migrated beyond the sound of 
Bow-bells. If one of these should be a little uncouth in speech, 
and apt to utter impertinent truths, he confesses that he is a 
real John Bull, and always speaks his mind. If he now and 
then flies into an unreasonable burst of passion about trifles, 
he observes that John Bull is a choleric old blade, but then his 
passion is over in a moment, and he bears no malice. If he 
betrays a coarseness of taste, and an insensibility to foreign 
refinements, he thanks Heaven for his ignorance he is a plain 
John Bull, and has no relish for frippery and knick-knacks. His 
very proneuess to be gulled by strangers, and to pay extrava- 
gantly for absurdities, is excused under the plea of munificence 
for John is always more generous than wise. 

Thus, under the name of John Bull, he will contrive to argue 
every fault into a merit, and will frankly convict himself of 
being the honestest fellow in existence. 

However little, therefore, the character may have suited in 
the first instance, it has gradually adapted itself to the nation, 
or rather they have adapted themselves to each other ; and a 
stranger who wishes to study English peculiarities, may gather 
much valuable information from the innumerable portraits of 
John Bull, as exhibited in the windows of the caricature-shops. 
Still, however, he is one of those fertile humorists, that are 
continually throwing out new portraits, and presenting differ- 
ent aspects from different points of view ; and, often as he has 
been described, I cannot resist the temptation to give a slight 
sketch of him, such as he has met my eye. 

John Bull, to all appearance, is a plain downright matter-of- 
fact fellow, with much less of poetry about him than rich prose. 
There is little of romance in his nature, but a vast deal of 
strong natural feeling. He excels in humor more than in wit ; 


is jolly rather than gay ; melancholy rather than morose ; can 
easily be moved to a sudden tear, or surprised into a broad 
laugh ; but he loathes sentiment, and has no turn for light pleas- 
antry. He is a boon companion, if you allow him to have his 
humor, and to talk about himself ; and he will stand by a friend 
in a quarrel, with life and purse, however soundly he may be 

In this last respect, to tell the truth, he has a propensity to 
be somewhat too ready. He is a busy-minded personage, who 
thinks not merely for himself and family, but for all the country 
round, and is most generously disposed to be everybody's cham- 
pion. He is continually volunteering his services to settle his 
neighbors' affairs, and takes it in great dudgeon if they engage 
in any matter of consequence without asking his advice ; though 
he seldom engages in any friendly office of the kind without fin- 
ishing by getting into a squabble with all parties and then railing 
bitterly at their ingratitude. He unluckily took lessons in his 
youth in the noble science of defence, and having accomplished 
himself in the use of his limbs and his weapons, and become a 
perfect master at boxing and cudgel-play, he has had a trouble- 
some life of it ever since. He cannot hear of a quarrel between 
the most distant of his neighbors, but he begins incontinently to 
fumble with the head of his cudgel, and consider whether his 
interest or honor does not require that he should meddle in the 
broil. Indeed, he has extended his relations of pride and policy 
BO completely over the whole country, that no event can take 
place, without infringing some of his finely-spun rights and 
dignities. Couched in his little domain, with these filaments 
stretching forth in every direction, he is like some choleric, 
bottle-bellied old spider, who has woven his web over a whole 
chamber, so that a fly cannot buzz, nor a breeze blow, without 
startling his repose, and causing him to sally forth wrathfully 
from his den. 

Though really a good-hearted, good-tempered old fellow at 
bottom, yet he is singularly fond of being in the midst of con- 
tention. It is one of his peculiarities, however, that he only 
relishes the beginning of an affray ; he always goes into a fight 
with alacrity, but comes out of it grumbling even when victo- 
rious ; and though no one fights with more obstinacy to carry 
a contested point, yet, when the battle is over, and he comes 
to the reconciliation, he is so much taken up with the mere 
shaking of hands, that he is apt to let his antagonist pocket 
all that they have been quarrelling about. It is not, therefore, 
fighting that he ought so much to be on his guard against, as 


making friends. It is difficult to cudgel him out of a farthing 5 
but put him in a good humor, and you may bargain him out 
of all the money in his pocket. He is like a stout ship, which 
will weather the roughest storm uninjured, but roll its masts 
overboard in the succeeding calm. 

He is a little fond of playing the magnifico abroad ; of pulling 
out a long purse ; flinging his monej 7 bravely about at boxing- 
matches, horse-races, cock-fights, and carrying a high head 
among " gentlemen of the fancy ; " but immediately after one 
of these fits of extravagance, he will be taken with violent 
qualms of economy ; stop short at the most trivial expenditure ; 
talk desperately of being ruined and brought upon the parish ; 
and in such moods will not pay the smallest tradesman's bill 
without violent altercation. He is, in fact, the most punctual 
and discontented paymaster in the world ; drawing his coin out 
of his breeches pocket with infinite reluctance ; paying to the 
uttermost farthing, but accompanying every guinea with a 

With all his talk of economy, however, he is a bountiful 
provider, and a hospitable housekeeper. His economy is of a 
whimsical kind, its chief object being to devise how he may 
afford to be extravagant ; for he will begrudge himself a beef- 
steak and pint of port one day, that he may roast an ox whole, 
broach a hogshead of ale, and treat all his neighbors on the 

His domestic establishment is enormously expensive : not so 
much from any great outward parade, as from the great con- 
sumption of solid beef and pudding ; the vast number of fol- 
lowers he feeds and clothes ; and his singular disposition to pay 
hugely for small services. He is a most kind and indulgent 
master, and, provided his servants humor his peculiarities, flat- 
ter his vanity a little now and then, and do not peculate grossly 
on him before his face, they may manage him to perfection. 
Every thing that lives on him seems to thrive and grow fat. 
His house servants are well paid, and pampered, and have little 
to do. His horses are sleek and lazy, and prance slowly before 
his state carriage ; and his house-dogs sleep quietly about the 
door, and will hardly bark at a housebreaker. 

His family mansion is an old castellated manor-house, gray 
with age, and of a most venerable, though weather-beaten, ap- 
pearance. It has been built upon no regular plan, but is a vast 
accumulation of parts, erected in various tastes and ages. The 
centre bears evident traces of Saxon architecture, and is as 
solid as ponderous stone and old English oak can make it. 


Like all the relics of that style, it is full of obscure passages, 
intricate mazes, and dusky chambers ; and though these have 
been partially lighted up in modern days, yet there are many 
places where you must still grope in the dark. Additions have 
been made to the original edifice from time to time, and great 
alterations have taken place ; towers and battlements have 
been erected during wars and tumults ; wings built in time of 
peace ; and out-houses, lodges, and offices, run up according to 
the whim or convenience of different generations, until it has 
become one of the most spacious, rambling tenements imagin- 
able. An entire wing is taken up with the family chapel ; a 
reverend pile, that must have been exceedingly sumptuous, 
and, indeed, in spite of having been altered and simplified 
at various periods, has still a look of solemn religious pomp. 
Its walls within are storied with the monuments of John's 
ancestors ; and it is snugly fitted up with soft cushions and 
well-lined chairs, where such of his family as are inclined to 
church services, may doze comfortably in the discharge of their 

To keep up this chapel, has cost John much money ; but he 
is stanch in his religion, and piqued in his zeal, from the cir- 
cumstance that many dissenting chapels have been erected in 
his vicinity, and several of his neighbors, with whom he has 
had quarrels, are strong Papists. 

To do the duties of the chapel, he maintains, at a large 
expense, a pious and portly family chaplain. He is a most 
learned and decorous personage, and a truly well-bred Christian, 
who always backs the old gentleman in his opinions, winks 
discreetly at his little peccadilloes, rebukes the children when 
refractory, and is of great use in exhorting the tenants to read 
their Bibles, say their prayers, and, above all, to pay their rents 
punctually, and without grumbling. 

The family apartments are in a very antiquated taste, some- 
what heavy, and often inconvenient, but full of the solemn 
magnificence of former times ; fitted up with rich, though faded 
tapestry, unwieldy furniture, and loads of massy, gorgeous old 
plate. The vast fireplaces, ample kitchens, extensive cellars, 
and sumptuous banqueting halls, all speak of the roaring hos- 
pitality of days of yore, of which the modern festivity at the 
manor-house is but a shadow. There are, however, complete 
suites of rooms apparently deserted and time-worn ; and towers 
and turrets that are tottering to decay ; so that in high winds 
there is danger of their tumbling about the ears of the house- 


John has frequently been advised to have the old edifice 
thoroughly overhauled, and to have some of the useless parts 
pulled down, and the others strengthened with their materials; 
but the old gentleman always grows testy on this subject. He 
swears the house is an excellent house that it is tight and 
weather-proof, and not to be shaken by tempests that it has 
stood for several hundred years, and therefore, is not likely to 
tumble down now that as to its being inconvenient, his family 
is accustomed to the inconveniences, and would not be comfort- 
able without them that as to its unwieldy size and irregular 
construction, these result from its being the growth of centuries, 
and being improved by the wisdom of every generation that 
an old family, like his. requires a large house to dwell in ; new, 
upstart families may live in modern cottages and snug boxes, 
but an old English family should inhabit an old English manor- 
house. If you point out any part of the building as superfluous, 
he insists that it is material to the strength or decoration of the 
rest, and the harmony of the whole ; and swears that the parts 
are so built into each other ; that, if you pull down one you run 
the risk of having the whole about your ears. 

The secret of the matter is, that John has a great disposition 
to protect and patronize. He thinks it indispensable to the 
dignity of an ancient and honorable family, to be bounteous in 
its appointments, and to be eaten up by dependants ; arid so, 
partly from pride, and partly from kind-heartedness, he makes 
it a rule always to give shelter and maintenance to his super- 
annuated servants. 

The consequence is, that, like many other venerable family 
establishments, his manor is encumbered by old retainers whom 
he cannot turn off, and an old style which he cannot lay down. 
His mansion is like a great hospital of invalids, and, with all its 
magnitude, is not a whit too large for its inhabitants. Not a 
nook or corner but is of use in housing some useless personage. 
Groups of veteran beef-eaters, gouty pensioners, and retired 
heroes of the buttery and the larder, are seen lolling about its 
walls, crawling over its lawns, dozing under its trees, or sunning 
themselves upon the benches at its doors. Every office and 
out-house is garrisoned by these supernumeraries and their 
families ; for they are amazingly prolific, and when they die off, 
are sure to leave John a legacy of hungry mouths to be provided 
for. A mattock cannot be struck against the most mouldering 
tumble-down tower, but out pops, from some cranny, or loop- 
hole, the gray pate of some superannuated hanger-on, who has 
lived at John's expense all his life, and makes the most grievous 


outcry, at their pulling down the roof from over the head of a 
worn-out servant of the family. This is an appeal that John's 
honest heart never can withstand ; so that a man who has faith- 
fully eaten his beef and pudding all his life, is sure to be 
rewarded with a pipe and tankard in his old days. 

A great part of his park, also, is turned into paddocks, where 
his broken-down chargers are turned loose to graze undisturbed 
for the remainder of their existence a worthy example of 
grateful recollection, which if some of his neighbors were to 
imitate, would not be to their discredit. Indeed, it is one of his 
great pleasures to point out these old steeds to his visitors, to 
dwell on their good qualities, extol their past services, and 
boast, with some little vainglory, of the perilous adventures 
and hardy exploits through which they have carried him. 

He is given, however, to indulge his veneration for family 
usages, and family encumbrances, to a whimsical extent. His 
manor is infested by gangs of gypsies ; yet he will not suffer 
them to be driven off, because they have infested the place time 
out of mind, and been regular poachers upon every generation 
of the family. He will scarcely permit a dry branch to be 
lopped from the great trees that surround the house, lest it 
should molest the rooks, that have bred there for centuries. 
Owls have taken possession of the dove-cote, but the} T are hered- 
itary owls, and must not be disturbed. Swallows have nearly 
choked up every chimney with their nests ; martins build in 
every frieze and cornice ; crows nutter about the towers, and 
perch on every weathercock ; and old gray-headed rats may be 
seen in every quarter of the house, running in and out of their 
holes undauntedly in broad daylight. In short, John has such 
a reverence for every thing that has been long in the family, 
that he will not hear even of abuses being reformed, because 
they are good old family abuses. 

All these whims and habits have concurred wofully to drain 
the old gentleman's purse ; and as he prides himself on punctu- 
ality in money matters, and wishes to maintain his credit in 
the neighborhood, they have caused him great perplexity in 
meeting his engagements. This, too, has been increased by 
the altercations and heartburnings which are continually taking 
place in his family. His children have been brought up to dif- 
ferent callings, and are of different ways of thinking ; and as 
they have always been allowed to speak their minds freely, they 
do not fail to exercise the privilege most clamorously in the 
present posture of his affairs. Some stand up for the honor 
of the race, and are clear that the old establishment should be 


kept up in all its state, whatever may be the cost; others, who 
are more prudent and considerate, entreat the old gentleman 
to retrench his expenses, and to put his whole system of house- 
keeping on a more moderate footing. He has, indeed, at times, 
seemed inclined to listen to their opinions, but their wholesome 
advice has been completely defeated by the obstreperous con- 
duct of one of his sons. This is a noisy rattle-pated fellow, 
of rather low habits, who neglects his business to frequent ale- 
houses is the orator of village clubs, and a complete oracle 
among the poorest of his father's tenants. No sooner does he 
hear any of his brothers mention reform or retrenchment, than 
up he jumps, takes the words out of their mouths, and roars 
out for an overturn. When his tongue is once going, nothing 
can stop it. He rants about the room ; hectors the old man 
about his spendthrift practices ; ridicules his tastes and pur- 
suits ; insists that he shall turn the old servants out of doors ; 
give the broken-down horses to the hounds ; send the fat chap- 
lain packing and take a field-preacher in his place nay, that 
the whole family mansion shall be levelled with the ground, 
and a plain one of brick and mortar built in its place. He rails 
at every social entertainment and family festivity, and skulks 
away growling to the ale-house whenever an equipage drives up 
to the door. Though constantly complaining of the emptiness 
of his purse, yet he scruples not to spend all his pocket-money 
in these tavern convocations, and even runs up scores for the 
liquor over which he preaches about his father's extravagance. 

It may readily be imagined how little such thwarting agrees 
with the old cavalier's fiery temperament. He has become so 
irritable, from repeated crossings, that the mere mention of 
retrenchment or reform is a signal for a brawl between him and 
the tavern oracle. As the latter is too sturdy and refractory 
for paternal discipline, having grown out of all fear of the 
cudgel, they have frequent scenes of wordy warfare, which at 
times run so high, that John is fain to call in the aid of his son 
Tom, an officer who has served abroad, but is at present living 
at home, on half-pay. This last is sure to stand by the old 
gentleman, right or wrong ; likes nothing so much as a racket- 
ing roystering life ; and is ready, at a wink or nod, to out sabre, 
and flourish it over the orator's head, if he dares to array him- 
self against paternal authority. 

These family dissensions, as usual, have got abroad, and are 
rare food for scandal in John's neighborhood. People begin 
to look wise, and shake their heads, whenever his affairs are 
mentioned. They all " hope that matters are not so bad with 


him as represented ; but when a man's own children begin to 
rail at his extravagance, things must be badly managed. They 
understand he is mortgaged over head and ears, and is contin- 
ually dabbling with money-lenders. He is certainly an open- 
handed old gentleman, but they fear he has lived too fast ; 
indeed, they never knew any good come of this fondness for 
hunting, racing, revelling, and prize-fighting. In short, Mr. 
Bull's estate is a very fine one, and has been in the family a 
long while ; but for all that, they have known many finer es- 
tates come to the hammer." 

What is worst of all, is the effect which these pecuniary em- 
barrassments and domestic feuds have had on the poor man 
himself. Instead of that jolly round corporation, and smug 
rosy face, which he used to present, he has of late become as 
shrivelled and shrunk as a frostbitten apple. His scarlet gold- 
laced waistcoat, which bellied out so bravely in those prosper- 
ous days when he sailed before the wind, now hangs loosely 
about him like a mainsail in a calm. His leather breeches are 
all in folds and wrinkles ; and apparently have much ado to 
hold up the boots that yawn on both sides of his once sturdy 

Instead of strutting about, as formerly, with his three-cor- 
nered hat on one side ; flourishing his cudgel, and bringing it 
down every moment with a hearty thump upon the ground ; 
looking every one sturdily in the face, and trolling out a stave 
of a catch or a drinking song ; he now goes about whistling 
thoughtfully to himself, with his head drooping down, his cud- 
gel tucked under his arm, and his hands thrust to the bottom 
of his breeches pockets, which are evidently empty. 

Such is the plight of honest John Bull at present ; yet for all 
this, the old fellow's spirit is as tall and as gallant as ever. If 
you drop the least expression of sympathy or concern, he takes 
fire in an instant ; swears that he is the richest and stoutest 
fellow in the country ; talks of laying out large sums to adorn 
his house or buy another estate ; and, with a valiant swagger 
and grasping of his cudgel, longs exceedingly to have another 
bout at quarterstaff. 

Though there may be something rather whimsical in all this, 
yet I confess I cannot look upon John's situation without strong 
feelings of interest. With all his odd humors and obstinate 
prejudices he is a sterling-hearted old blade. He ma}^ not be 
so wonderfully fine a fellow as he thinks himself, but he is at 
least twice as good as his neighbors represent him. His virtues 
are all his own ; all plain, homebred, and unaffected. His very 


faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities. His extrava- 
gance savors of his generosity ; his quarrelsomeness, of his 
courage ; his credulity, of his open faith ; his vanity, of his 
pride ; and his bluntness, of his sincerity. They are all the 
redundancies of a rich and liberal character. He is like his own 
oak ; rough without, but sound and solid within ; whose bark 
abounds with excrescences in proportion to the growth and 
grandeur of the timber ; and whose branches make a fearful 
groaning and murmuring in the least storm, from their very 
magnitude and luxuriance. There is something, too, in the ap- 
pearance of his old family mansion, that is extremely poetical 
and picturesque ; and, as long as it can be rendered comforta- 
bly habitable, I should almost tremble to see it meddled with 
during the present conflict of tastes and opinions. Some of 
his advisers are no doubt good architects, that might be of 
service ; but many, I fear, are mere levellers, who, when they 
had once got to work with their mattocks on this venerable 
edifice, would never stop until they had brought it to the ground, 
and perhaps buried themselves among the ruins. All that I 
wish, is, that John's present troubles may teach him more pru- 
dence in future ; that he may cease to distress his mind about 
other people's affairs ; that he may give up the fruitless attempt 
to promote the good of his neighbors, and the peace and happi- 
ness of the world, by dint of the cudgel ; that he may remain 
quietly at home ; gradually get his house into repair ; cultivate 
his rich estate according to his fancy ; husband his income if 
he thinks proper ; bring his unruly children into order if he 
can ; renew the jovial scenes of ancient prosperity ; and long 
enjoy, on his paternal lands, a green, an honorable, and a merry 
old age. 


May no wolfe howle : no screech-owle stir 

A wing about thy sepulchre! 

No boysterous winds or stormes come hither, 

To starve or wither 

Thy soft sweet earth! but, like a spring, 
Love keep it ever flourishing. HERRICK. 

IN the course of an excursion through one of the remote 
counties of England, I had struck into one of those cross-roads 
that lead through the more secluded parts of the country, and 


stopped one afternoon at a village, the situation of which was 
beautifully rural and retired. There was an air of primitive 
simplicity about its inhabitants, not to be found in the. villages 
which lie on the great coach-roads. I determined to pass the 
night there, and having taken an early dinner, strolled out to 
enjoy the neighboring scenery. 

My ramble, as is usually the case with travellers, soon led 
me to the church, which stood at a little distance from the vil- 
lage. Indeed, it was an object of some curiosity, its old tower 
being completely overrun with ivy, so that only here and there 
a jutting buttress, an angle of gray wall, or a fantastically 
carved ornament, peered through the verdant covering. It was 
a lovely evening. The early part of the day had been dark and 
showery, but in the afternoon it had cleared up ; and though 
sullen clouds still hung overhead, yet there was a broad tract of 
golden sky in the west, from which the setting sun gleamed 
through the dripping leaves, and lit up all nature with a melan- 
choly smile. It seemed like the parting hour of a good Chris- 
tian, smiling on the sins and sorrows of the world, and giving, 
in the serenity of his decline, an assurance that he will rise 
again in glory. 

I had seated myself on a half-sunken tombstone, and was 
musing, as one is apt to do at this sober-thoughted hour, on 
past scenes, and early friends on those who were distant, and 
those who were dead and indulging in that kind of melan- 
choly fancying, which has in it something sweeter even than 
pleasure. Every now and then, the stroke of a bell from the 
neighboring tower fell on my ear ; its tones were in unison 
with the scene, and instead of jarring, chimed in with my feel- 
ings ; and it was some time before I recollected, that it must be 
tolling the knell of some new tenant of the tomb. 

Presently I saw a funeral train moving across the village 
green ; it wound slowly along a lane ; was lost, and reappeared 
through the breaks of the hedges, until it passed the place 
where I was sitting. The pall was supported by young girls, 
dressed in white ; and another, about the age of seventeen, 
walked before, bearing a chaplet of white flowers : a token that 
the deceased was a young and unmarried female. The corpse 
was followed by the parents. They were a venerable couple, of 
the better order of peasantry. The father seemed to repress 
his feelings ; but his fixed eye, contracted brow, and deeply- 
furrowed face, showed the struggle that was passing within. 
His wife hung on his arm, and wept aloud with the convulsive 
bursts of a mother's sorrow. 


I followed the funeral into the church. The bier was placed 
in the centre aisle, and the chaplet of white flowers, with a pair 
of white gloves, were hung over the seat which the deceased 
had occupied. 

Every one knows the soul-subduing pathos of the funeral 
service ; for who is so fortunate as never to have followed some 
one he has loved to the tomb? but when performed over the 
remains of innocence and beauty, thus laid low in the bloom of 
existence what can be more affecting? At that simple, but 
most solemn consignment of the body to the grave u Earth to 
earth ashes to ashes dust to dust ! " the tears of the youth- 
ful companions of the deceased flowed unrestrained. The 
father still seemed to struggle with his feelings, and to comfort 
himself with the assurance, that the dead are blessed which die 
in the Lord : but the mother only thought of her child as a 
flower of the field, cut down and withered in the midst of its 
sweetness: she was like Rachel, "mourning over her children, 
and would not be comforted." 

On returning to the inn, I learnt the whole story of the 
deceased. It was a simple one, and such as has often been 
told. She had been the beauty and pride of the village. Her 
father had once been an opulent farmer, but was reduced in 
circumstances. This was an only child, and brought up en- 
tirely at home, in the simplicity of rural life. She had been 
the pupil of the village pastor, the favorite lamb of his little 
flock. The good man watched over her education with pater- 
nal care ; it was limited, and suitable to the sphere in which 
she was to move ; for he only sought to make her an ornament 
to her station in life, not to raise her above it. The tender- 
ness and indulgence of her parents, and the exemption from 
all ordinary occupations, had fostered a natural grace and deli- 
cacy of character that accorded with the fragile loveliness of 
her form. She appeared like some tender plant of the gar- 
den, blooming accidentally amid the hardier natives of the 

The superiority of her charms was felt and acknowledged by 
her companions, but without envy ; for it was surpassed by the 
unassuming gentleness and winning kindness of her manners. 
It might be truly said of her, 

" This is the prettiest low-born lass, that ever 
Ran on the greensward : nothing she does or seems, 
But smacks of something greater than herself; 
Too noble for this place." 


The village was one of those sequestered spots, which still 
retain some vestiges of old English customs. It had its rural 
festivals and holyday pastimes, and still kept up some faint 
observance of the once popular ri^es of May. These, indeed, 
had been promoted by its present pastor ; who was a lover of 
old customs, and one of those simple Christians that think their 
mission fulfilled by promoting joy on earth and good-will among 
mankind. Under his auspices the May-pole stood from year 
to year in the centre of the village green ; on May-day it was 
decorated with garlands and streamers ; and a queen or lady of 
the May was appointed, as in former times, to preside at the 
sports, and distribute the prizes and rewards. The picturesque 
situation of the village, and the fancifuluess of its rustic fetes, 
would often attract the notice of casual visitors. Among these, 
on one May-day, was a young officer, whose regiment had been 
recently quartered in the neighborhood. He was charmed with 
the native taste that pervaded this village pageant ; but, above 
all, with the dawning loveliness of the queen of May. It was 
the village favorite, who was crowned with flowers, and blush- 
ing and smiling in all the beautiful confusion of girlish diffi- 
dence and delight. The artlessness of rural habits enabled 
him readily to make her acquaintance ; he gradually won his 
way into her intimacy ; and paid his court to her in that unthink- 
ing way in which young officers are too apt to trifle with rustic 

There was nothing in his advances to startle or alarm. He 
never even talked of love ; but there are modes of making it, 
more eloquent than language, and which convey it subtilely and 
irresistibly to the heart. The beam of the eye, the tone of 
voice, the thousand tendernesses which emanate from every 
word, and look, and action these form the true eloquence of 
love, and can always be felt and understood, but never de- 
scribed. Can we wonder that they should readily win a heart, 
young, guileless, and susceptible ? As to her, she loved almost 
unconsciously ; she scarcely inquired what was the growing pas- 
sion that was absorbing every thought and feeling, or what were 
to be its consequences. She, indeed, looked not to the future. 
When present, his looks and words occupied her whole atten- 
tion ; when absent, she thought but of what had passed at their 
recent interview. She would wander with him through the 
green lanes and rural scenes of the vicinity. He taught her 
to see new beauties in nature ; he talked in the language of 
polite and cultivated life, and breathed into her ear the witch- 
eries of romance and poetry. 


Perhaps there could not have been a passion, between the 
sexes, more pure than this innocent girl's. The gallant figure 
of her youthful admirer, and the splendor of his military attire, 
might at first have charmed her eye ; but it was not these that 
had captivated her heart. Her attachment had something in it 
of idolatry ; she looked up to him as to a being of a superior 
order. She felt in his society the enthusiasm of a mind natu- 
rally delicate and poetical, and now first awakened to a keen 
perception of the beautiful and grand. Of the sordid distinc- 
tions of rank and fortune, she thought nothing ; it was the 
difference of intellect, of demeanor, of manners, from those 
of the rustic society to which she had been accustomed, that 
elevated him in her opinion. She would listen to him with 
charmed ear and downcast look of mute delight, and her cheek 
would mantle with enthusiasm : or if ever she ventured a shy 
glance of timid admiration, it was as quickly withdrawn, and 
she would, sigh and blush at the idea of her comparative un- 

Her lover was equally impassioned ; but his passion was 
mingled with feelings of a coarser nature. He had begun the 
connection in levity ; for he had often heard his brother officers 
boast of their village conquests, and thought some triumph of 
the kind necessary to his reputation as a man of spirit. But 
he was too full of youthful fervor. His heart had not yet been 
rendered sufficiently cold and selfish by a wandering and a dis- 
sipated life : it caught fire from the very flame it sought to 
kindle ; and before he was aware of the nature of his situation, 
he became really in love. 

What was he to do ? There were the old obstacles which so 
incessantly occur in these heedless attachments. His rank in 
life the prejudices of titled connections his dependence 
upon a proud and unyielding father all forbade him to think 
of matrimony : but when he looked down upon this innocent 
being, so tender and confiding, there was a purity in her man- 
ners, a blamelessness in her life, and a beseeching modesty in 
her looks, that awed down every licentious feeling. In vain 
did he try to fortify himself, by a thousand heartless examples 
of men of fashion, and to chill the glow of generous sentiment, 
with that cold derisive levity with which he had heard them talk 
of female virtue ; whenever he came into her presence, she was 
still surrounded by that mysterious, but impassive charm of 
virgin purity, in whose hallowed sphere no guilty thought can 

The ^uddeu arrival of orders for the regiment to repair to 


the continent, completed the confusion of his mind. He re- 
mained for a short time in a state of the most painful irresolu- 
tion ; he hesitated to communicate the tidings, until the day 
for marching was at hand; when he gave her the intelligence 
in the course of an evening ramble. 

The idea of parting had never before occurred to her. It 
broke in at once upon her dream of felicity ; she looked upon 
it as a sudden and insurmountable evil, and wept with the guile- 
less simplicity of a child. He drew her to his bosom and kissed 
the tears from her soft cheek, nor did he meet with a repulse, 
for there are moments of mingled sorrow and tenderness, which 
hallow the caresses of affection. He was naturally impetuous, 
and the sight of beauty apparently yielding in his arms, the 
confidence of his power over her, and the dread of losing her 
forever, all conspired to overwhelm his better feelings he 
ventured to propose that she should leave her home, and be the 
companion of his fortunes. 

He was quite a novice in seduction, and blushed and faltered 
at his own baseness ; but, so innocent of mind was his intended 
victim, that she was at first at a loss to comprehend his mean- 
ing ; and why she should leave her native village, and the 
humble roof of her parents. When at last the nature of his 
proposals flashed upon her pure mind, the effect was wither- 
ing. She did not weep she did not break forth into re- 
proaches she said not a word but she shrunk back aghast 
as from a viper, gave him a look of anguish that pierced to his 
very soul, and clasping her hands in agony, fled, as if for refuge, 
to her father's cottage. 

The officer retired, confounded, humiliated, and repentant. 
It is uncertain what might have been the result of the conflict 
of his feelings, had not his thoughts been diverted by the 
bustle of departure. New scenes, new pleasures, and new 
companions, soon dissipated his self-reproach, and stifled his 
tenderness. Yet, amidst the stir of camps, the revelries of 
garrisons, the array of armies, and even the din of battles, his 
thoughts would sometimes steal back to the scenes of rural 
quiet and village simplicity the white cottage the footpath 
along the silver brook and up the hawthorn hedge, and the 
little village maid loitering along it, leaning on his arm and 
listening to him with eyes beaming with unconscious affection. 

The shock which the poor girl had received, in the destruc- 
tion of all her ideal world, had indeed been cruel. Paintings 
and hysterics had at first shaken her tender frame, and were 
succeeded by a settled and pining melancholy. She had beheld 


from her window the march of the departing troops. She had 
seen her faithless lover borne off, as if in triumph, amidst the 
sound of drum and trumpet, and the pomp of arms. She 
strained a last aching gaze after him, as the morning sun glit- 
tered about his figure, and his plume waved in the breeze ; he 
passed away like a bright vision from her sight, and left her all 
in darkness. 

It would be trite to dwell on the particulars of her after- 
story. It was like other tales of love, melancholy. She avoided 
society, and wandered out alone in the walks she had most 
frequented with her lover. She sought, like the stricken deer, 
to weep in silence and loneliness, and brood over the barbed 
sorrow that rankled in her soul. Sometimes she would be seen 
late of an evening sitting in the porch of a village church ; 
and the milk-maids, returning from the fields, would now and 
then overbear her, singing some plaintive ditty in the haw- 
thorn walk. She became fervent in her devotions at church ; 
and as the old people saw her approach, so wasted away, yet 
with a hectic bloom, and that hallowed air which melancholy 
diffuses round the form, they would make way for her, as for 
something spiritual, and, looking after her, would shake their 
heads in gloomy foreboding. 

She felt a conviction that she was hastening to the tomb, but 
looked forward to it as a place of rest. The silver cord that 
had bound her to existence was loosed, and there seemed to be 
no more pleasure under the sun. If ever her gentle bosom had 
entertained resentment against her lover, it was extinguished. 
She was incapable of angry passions, and in a moment of sad- 
dened tenderness she penned him a farewell letter. It was 
couched in the simplest language, but touching from its very 
simplicity. She told him that she was dying, and did not 
conceal from him that his conduct was the cause. She even 
depicted the sufferings which she had experienced ; but con- 
cluded with saying, that she could not die in peace, until she 
had sent him her forgiveness and her blessing. 

By degrees her strength declined, and she could no longer 
leave the cottage. She could only totter to the window, where, 
propped up in her chair, it was her enjoyment to sit all day 
and look out upon the landscape. Still she uttered no com- 
plaint, nor imparted to any one the malady that was preying 
on her heart. She never even mentioned her lover's name ; 
but would lay her head on her mother's bosom and weep in 
silence. Her poor parents hung, in mute anxiety, over this 
fading blossom of their hopes, still flattering themselves that it 


might again revive to freshness, and that the bright unearthly 
bloom which sometimes flushed her cheek, might be the promise 
of returning health. 

In this way she was seated between them one Sunday after- 
noon ; her hands were clasped in theirs, the lattice was thrown 
open, and the soft air that stole in, brought with it the fra- 
grance of the clustering honeysuckle, which her own hands 
had trained round the window. 

Her father had just been reading a chapter in the Bible ; it 
spoke of the vanity of worldly things, and of the joys of heaven ; 
it seemed to have diffused comfort and serenity through her 
bosom. Her eye was fixed on the distant village church the 
bell had tolled for the evening service the last villager was 
lagging into the porch and every thing had sunk into that 
hallowed stillness peculiar to the day of rest. Her parents 
were gazing on her with yearning hearts. Sickness and sor- 
row, which pass so roughly over some faces, had given to hers 
the expression of a seraph's. A tear trembled in her soft 
blue eye. Was she thinking of her faithless lover? or were 
her thoughts wandering to that distant churchyard, into whose 
bosom she might soon be gathered ? 

Suddenly the clang of hoofs was heard a horseman galloped 
to the cottage he dismounted before the window the poor 
girl gave a faint exclamation, and sunk back in her chair : it 
was her repentant lover ! He rushed into the house, and flew 
to clasp her to his bosom ; but her wasted form her death-like 
countenance so wan, yet so lovely in its desolation smote 
him to the soul, and he threw himself in agony at her feet. 
She was too faint to rise she attempted to extend her trem- 
bling hand her lips moved as if she spoke, but no word was 
articulated she looked down upon him with a smile of unut- 
terable tenderness, and closed her eyes forever. 

Such are the particulars which I gathered of this village 
story. They are but scanty, and I am conscious have little 
novelty to recommend them. In the present rage also for 
strange incident and high-seasoned narrative, they may appear 
trite and insignificant, but they interested me strongly at the 
time ; and, taken in connection with the affecting ceremony 
which I had just witnessed, left a deeper impression on my 
mind than many circumstances of a more striking nature. I 
have passed through the place since, and visited the church 
again from a better motive than mere curiosity. It was a 
wintry evening ; the trees were stripped of their foliage ; the 
churchyard looked naked and mournful, and the wind rustled 



coldly through the dry grass. Evergreens, however, had been 
planted about the grave of the village favorite, and osiers were 
bent over it to keep the turf uninjured. The church-door was 
open, and I stepped in. There hung the chaplet of flowers 
and the gloves, as on the day of the funeral : the flowers were 
withered, it is true, but care seemed to have been taken that no 
dust should soil their whiteness. I have seen many monuments, 
where art has exhausted its powers to awaken the sympathy 
of the spectator ; but I have met with none that spoke more 
touchingly to my heart, than this simple, but delicate memento 
of departed innocence. 


This day dame Nature seemed in love, 

The lusty sap began to move, 

Fresh juice did stir th' embracing vines, 

And birds had drawn their valentines. 

The jealous trout that low did lie, 

Rose at a well dissembled fly. 

There stood my friend, with patient skill, 

Attending of his trembling quill. SIB II. WOTTON. 

IT is said that many an unlucky urchin is induced to run 
away from his family, and betake himself to a seafaring life, 
from reading the history of Robinson Crusoe ; and I suspect 
that, in like manner, many of those worthy gentlemen, who 
are given to haunt the sides of pastoral streams with angle- 
rods in hand, may trace the origin of their passion to the seduc- 
tive pages of honest Izaak Walton. I recollect studying his 
"Complete Angler" several years since, in company with a 
knot of friends in America, and, moreover, that we were all 
completely bitten with the angling mania. It was early in the 
year ; but as soon as the weather was auspicious, and that 
the spring began to melt into the verge of summer, we took rod 
in hand, and sallied into the country, as stark mad as was ever 
Don Quixote from reading books of chivalry. 

One of our party had equalled the Don in the fulness of his 
equipments ; being attired cap-a-pie for the enterprise. He 
wore a broad-skirted fustian coat, perplexed with half a hun- 
dred pockets ; a pair of stout shoes, and leathern gaiters ; a 
basket slung on one side for fish ; a patent rod ; a landing net, 
and a score of other inconveniences only to be found in the 


true angler's armory. Thus harnessed for the field, he was as 
great a matter of stare and wonderment among the country 
folk, who had never seen a regular angler, as was the steel-clad 
hero of La Mancha among the goat-herds of the Sierra Morena. 

Our first essay was along a mountain brook, among the 
highlands of the Hudson a most unfortunate place for the 
execution of those piscatory tactics which had been invented 
along the velvet margins of quiet English rivulets. It was one 
of those wild streams that lavish, among our romantic soli- 
tudes, unheeded beauties, enough to fill the sketch-book of a 
hunter of the picturesque. Sometimes it would leap down 
rocky shelves, making small cascades, over which the trees 
threw their broad balancing sprays ; and long nameless weeds 
hung in fringes from the impending banks, dripping with dia- 
mond drops. Sometimes it would brawl and fret along a ravine 
in the matted shade of a forest, filling it with murmurs ; and 
after this termagant career, would steal forth into open day 
with the most placid demure face imaginable ; as I have seen 
some pestilent shrew of a housewife, after filling her home with 
uproar and ill-humor, come dimpling out of doors, swimming, 
and courtesying, and smiling upon all the world. 

How smoothly would this vagrant brook glide, at such times, 
through some bosom of green meadow land, among the moun- 
tains ; where the quiet was only interrupted by the occasional 
tinkling of a bell from the lazy cattle among the clover, or the 
sound of a wood-cutter's axe from the neighboring forest ! 

For my part, I was always a bungler at all kinds of sport 
that required either patience or adroitness, and had not angled 
above half an hour, before I had completely " satisfied the sen- 
timent," and convinced myself of the truth of Izaak Walton's 
opinion, that angling is something like poetry a man must be 
born to it. I hooked myself instead of the fish ; tangled my 
line in every tree ; lost my bait ; broke my rod ; until I gave up 
the attempt in despair, and passed the day under the trees, 
reading old Izaak : satisfied that it was his fascinating vein of 
honest simplicity and rural feeling that had bewitched me, and 
not the passion for angling. My companions, however, were 
more persevering in their delusion. I have them at this mo- 
ment before my eyes, stealing along the border of the brook, 
where it lay open to the day, or was merely fringed by shrubs 
and bushes. I see the bittern rising with hollow scream, as 
they break in upon his rarely-invaded haunt ; the kingfisher 
watching them suspiciously from his dry tree that overhangs 
the deep black mill-pond, in the gorge of the hills ; the tortoise 


letting himself slip sideways from off the stone or log on which 
he is sunning himself ; and the panic-struck frog plumping 
in headlong as they approach, and spreading an alarm through- 
out the watery world around. 

I recollect, also, that, after toiling and watching and creep- 
ing about for the greater part of a day, with scarcely any suc- 
cess, in spite of all our admirable apparatus, a lubberly country 
urchin came down from the hills, with a rod made from a 
branch of a tree ; a few yards of twine ; and, as heaven shall 
help me ! I believe a crooked pin for a hook, baited with a vile 
earth-worm and in half an hour caught more fish than we had 
nibbles throughout the day. 

But above all, I recollect the " good, honest, wholesome, 
hungiy " repast, which we made under a beech-tree just by a 
spring of pure sweet water, that stole out of the side of a hill ; 
and how, when it was over, one of the party read old Izaak 
Walton's scene with the milkmaid, while I lay on the grass 
and built 'castles in a bright pile of clouds, until I fell asleep. 
All this may appear like mere egotism : yet I cannot refrain 
from uttering these recollections which are passing like a strain 
of music over my mind, and have been called up by an agree- 
able scene which I witnessed not long since. 

In a morning's stroll along the banks of the Alun, a beauti- 
ful little stream which flows down from the Welsh hills and 
throws itself into the Dee, my attention was attracted to a 
group seated on the margin. On approaching, I found it to 
consist of a veteran angler and two rustic disciples. The 
former was an old fellow with a wooden leg, with clothes very 
much, but very carefully patched, betokening poverty, honestly 
come by, and decently maintained. His face bore the marks 
of former storms, but present fair weather ; its furrows had 
been worn into an habitual smile ; his iron-gray locks hung 
about his ears, and he had altogether the good-humored air of 
a constitutional philosopher, who was disposed to take the 
world as it went. One of his companions was a ragged wight, 
with the skulking look of an arrant poacher, and I'll warrant 
could find his way to any gentleman's fish-pond in the neigh- 
borhood in the darkest night. The other was a tall, awkward, 
country lad, with a lounging gait, and apparently somewhat of 
a rustic beau. The old man was busy examining the maw of 
a trout which he had just killed, to discover by its contents 
what insects were seasonable for bait ; and was lecturing on the 
subject to his companions, who appeared to listen with infinite 
deference. I have a kind feeling toward all '* brothers of 


the angle," ever since I read Izaak Walton. They are men, 
he affirms, of a " mild, sweet, and peaceable spirit ; " and my 
esteem for them has been increased since I met with an old 
" Tretyse of fishing with the Angle," in which are set forth 
many of the maxims of their inoffensive fraternity. "Take 
goode hecle," sayeth this honest little tretyse, "that in going 
about your disportes ye open no man's gates, but that ye shet 
them again. Also ye shall not use this forsayd crafti disport for 
no covetousness to the increasing and sparing of your money 
only, but principally for your solace and to cause the helth of 
your body and specyally of your soule." l 

I thought that I could perceive in the veteran angler before 
me an exemplification of what I had read ; and there was a 
cheerful contentedness in his looks, that quite drew me towards 
him. I could not but remark the gallant manner in which he 
stumped from one part of the brook to another ; waving his 
rod in the air, to keep the line from dragging on the ground, or 
catching among the bushes ; and the adroitness with which he 
would throw his fly to any particular place ; sometimes skim- 
ming it lightly along a little rapid ; sometimes casting it into 
one of those dark holes made by a twisted root or overhanging 
bank, in which the large trout are apt to lurk. In the mean- 
while, he was giving instructions to his two disciples ; showing 
them the manner in which they should handle their rods, fix 
their flies, and play them along the surface of the stream. The 
scene brought to my mind the instructions of the sage Piscator 
to his scholar. The country around was of that pastoral kind 
which Walton is fond of describing. It was a part of the great 
plain of Cheshire, close by the beautiful vale of Gessford, and 
just where the inferior Welsh hills begin to swell up from 
among fresh-smelling meadows. The day, too, like that re- 
corded in his work, was mild and sunshiny ; with now and then 
a soft dropping shower, that sowed the whole earth with dia- 

I soon fell into conversation with the old angler, and was so 
much entertained, that, under pretext of receiving instructions 
in his art, I kept company with him almost the whole day ; 
wandering along the banks of the stream, and listening to his 

1 From this same treatise, it would appear that angling is a more industrious and 
devout employment than it is generally considered. " For when ye purpose to go on 
your disportes in fishynge, ye will not desyre greatlye many persons with you, which 
might let you of your game. And that ye may serve God devoutly in sayinge 
effectually your customable prayers. And thus doying, ye shall eschew and also 
avoyde many yic*es, as ydleness, which is principall cause to induce man to many other 
vices, as it ia right well known." 


talk. He was very communicative, having all the easy garru- 
lity of cheerful old age ; and I fancy was a little flattered .by 
having an opportunity of displaying his piscatory lore ; for who 
does not like now and then to play the sage ? 

He had been much of a rambler in his day ; and had passed 
some years of his youth in America, particularly in Savannah, 
where he had entered into trade, and had been ruined by the 
indiscretion of a partner. He had afterward experienced many 
ups and downs in life, until he got into the navy, where his leg- 
was carried .away by a cannon-ball, at the battle of Camper- 
down. This was the only stroke of real good fortune he had 
ever experienced, for it got him a pension, which, together with 
some small paternal property, brought him in a revenue of 
nearly fort}* pounds. On this he retired to his native village, 
where he lived quietly and independently, and devoted the 
remainder of his life to the " noble art of angling." 

I found that he had read Izaak Walton attentively, and he 
seemed to have imbibed all his simple frankness and prevalent 
good-humor. Though he had been sorely buffeted about the 
world, he was satisfied that the world, in itself, was good and 
beautiful. Though he had been as roughly used in different 
countries as a poor sheep that is fleeced by every hedge and 
thicket, yet he spoke of every nation with candor and kindness, 
appearing to look only on the good side of things : and above 
all, he was almost the only man I had ever met with, who had 
been an unfortunate adventurer in America, and had honesty 
and magnanimity enough to take the fault to his own door, and 
not to curse the country. 

The lad that was receiving his instructions I learnt was the 
son and heir apparent of a fat old widow, who kept the village 
inn, and of course a youth of some expectation, and much 
courted by the idle, gentleman-like personages of the place. In 
taking him under his care, therefore, the old man had probably 
an eye to a privileged corner in the tap-room, and an occasional 
cup of cheerful ale free of expense. 

There is certainly something in angling, if we could forget, 
which anglers are apt to do, the cruelties and tortures inflicted 
on worms and insects, that tends to produce a gentleness of 
spirit, and a pure serenity of mind. As the English are me- 
thodical even in their recreations, and are the most scientific of 
sportsmen, it has been reduced among them to perfect rule and 
system. Indeed, it is an amusement peculiarly adapted to the 
mild and highly cultivated scenery of England, where every 
roughness has been softened away from the landscape. It is de- 


lightf ill to saunter along those limpid streams which wander, like 
veins of silver, through the bosom of this beautiful country ; lead- 
ing one through a diversity of small home scenery ; sometimes 
winding through ornamented grounds ; sometimes brimming along 
through rich pasturage, where the fresh green is mingled with 
sweet-smelling flowers, sometimes venturing in sight of villages 
and hamlets ; and then running capriciously away into shady 
retirements. The sweetness and serenity of nature, and the; 
quiet watchfulness of the sport, gradually bring on pleasant fitw 
of musing ; which are now and then agreeably interrupted by 
the song of a bird ; the distant whistle of the peasant ; or per- 
haps the vagary of some fish, leaping out of the still water, 
and skimming transiently about its glassj- surface. "When I 
would beget content," says Izaak Walton, " and increase con- 
fidence in the power and wisdom and providence of Almighty 
Go,d, I will walk the meadows b} 7 some gliding stream, and 
there contemplate the lilies that take no care, and those very 
many other little living creatures that are not only created, but 
fed, (man knows not how) by the goodness of the God of 
nature, and therefore trust in him." 

I cannot forbear to give another quotation from one of those 
ancient champions of angling, which breathes the same innocent 
and happy spirit : 

Let me live harmlessly, and near the brink 

Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling-place : 
Where I may see my quill, or cork down sink, 

With eager bite of Pike, or Bleak, or Dace; 
And on the world and my Creator think : 

While some men strive ill-gotten goods t' embrace; 
And others spend their time in base excess 

Of wine, or worse, in war or wantonness. 

Let them that will, these pastimes still pursue 

And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill, 
So I the fields and meadows green may view, 

And daily by fresh rivers walk at will 
Among the daisies and the violets blue, 

Red hyacinth and yellow daffodil. 1 

On parting with the old angler, I inquired after his place of 
abode, and happening to be in the neighborhood of the village 
a few evenings afterwards, I had the curiosity to seek him out. 
I found him living in a small cottage, containing only one 

1 J. Davors. 


room, but a perfect curiosity in its method and arrangement. 
It was on the skirts of the village, on a green "bank, a little 
back from the road, with a small garden in front, stocked with 
kitchen-herbs, and adorned with a few flowers. The whole 
front of the cottage was overrun with a honeysuckle. On the 
top was a ship for a weathercock. The interior was fitted up 
in a truly nautical style, his ideas of comfort and convenience 
having been acquired on the berth-deck of a man-of-war. A 
hammock was slung from the ceiling, which in the day-time was 
lashed up so as to take but little room. From the centre of the 
chamber hung a model of a ship, of his own workmanship. Two 
or three chairs, a table, and a large sea-chest, formed the prin- 
cipal movables. About the wall were stuck up naval ballads, 
such as Admiral Hosier's Ghost, All in the Downs, and Tom 
Bowling, intermingled with pictures of sea-fights, among which 
the battle of Camperdown held a distinguished place. The 
mantelpiece was decorated with seashells ; over which hung a 
quadrant, flanked by two wood-cuts of most bitter-looking 
naval commanders. His implements for angling were carefully 
disposed on nails and hooks about the room. On a shelf was 
arranged his library, containing a work on angling, much worn ; 
a Bible covered with canvas ; an odd volume or two of voyages ; 
a nautical almanac ; and a book of songs. 

His family consisted of a large black cat with one eye, and a 
parrot which he had caught and tamed, and educated himself, 
in the course of one of his voyages ; and which uttered a variety 
of sea phrases, with the hoarse rattling tone of a veteran boat- 
swain. The establishment reminded me of that of the renowned 
Robinson Crusoe ; it was kept in neat order, every thing being 
' ' stowed away ' ' with the regularity of a ship of war ; and he 
informed me that he "scoured the deck every morning, and 
swept it between meals." 

I found him seated on a bench before the door, smoking his 
pipe in the soft evening sunshine. His cat was purring soberly 
on the threshold, and his parrot describing some strange evolu- 
tions in an iron ring, that swung in the centre of his cage. He 
had been angling all day, and gave me a histoiy of his sport 
with as much minuteness as a general would talk over a cam- 
paign ; being particularly animated in relating the manner in 
which he had taken a large trout, which had completely tasked 
all his skill and wariness, and which he had sent as a trophy to 
mine hostess of the inn. 

How comforting it is to see a cheerful and contented old age ; 
and to behold a poor fellow, like this, after being tempest-tost 


through life, safely moored in a snug and quiet harbor in the 
evening of his days ! His happiness, however, sprung from 
within himself, and was independent of external circumstances ; 
for he had that inexhaustible good-nature, which is the most 
precious gift of Heaven ; spreading itself like oil over the trou- 
bled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable 
in the roughest weather. 

On inquiring further about him, I learnt that he was a uni- 
versal favorite in the village, and the oracle of the tap-room ; 
where he delighted the rustics with his songs, and, like Sindbad, 
astonished them with his stories of strange lands, and ship- 
wrecks, and sea-fights. He was much noticed too by gentlemen 
sportsmen of the neighborhood ; had taught several of them the 
art of angling j and was a privileged visitor to their kitchens. 
The whole tenor of his life was quiet and inoffensive, being 
principally passed about the neighboring streams, when the 
weather and season were favorable ; and at other times he 
employed himself at home, preparing his fishing tackle for the 
next campaign, or manufacturing rods, nets, and flies, for his 
patrons and pupils among the gentry. 

He was a regular attendant at church on Sundays, though he 
generally fell asleep during the sermon. He had made it his 
particular request that when he died he should be buried in a 
green spot, which he could see from his seat in church, and 
which he had marked out ever since he was a boy, and had 
thought of when far from home on the raging sea, in danger of 
being food for the fishes it was the spot where his father and 
mother had been buried. 

I have done, for I fear that my reader is growing weary ; but 
I could not refrain from drawing the picture of this worthy 
" brother of the angle ; " who has made me more than ever in 
love with the theory, though I fear I shall never be adroit in 
the practice of his art ; and I will conclude this rambling sketch 
in the words of honest Izaak Walton, by craving the blessing 
of St. Peter's Master upon my reader, u and upon all that are 
true lovers of virtue ; and dare trust in his providence ; and be 
quiet ; and go a angling." 




A pleasing land of drowsy head it was, 

Of dreams that wave before the half -shut eye; 

And of gay castles in the clouds that pass, 

Forever flushing round a summer sky. Castle of Indolence. 

IN the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent 
the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of 
the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the 
Tappan Zee, arid where they always prudently shortened sail, 
and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, 
there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is 
called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly 
known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given 
we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the 
adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their hus- 
bands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be 
that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert 
to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far 
from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little 
valley or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of 
the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides 
through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose ; and 
the occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, 
is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform 

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel- 
shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one 
side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noon-time when 
all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of 
my own gun, as it broke the sabbath stillness around, and was 
prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I 
should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world 
and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a 
troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little 

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar char- 
acter of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original 
Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by 


the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads are called the 
Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. 
A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and 
to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was 
bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of 
the settlement ; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet 
or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the coun- 
try was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, 
the place still continues under the sway of some witching 
power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, 
causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given 
to all kinds of marvellous beliefs ; are subject to trances and 
visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and 
voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local 
tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions ; stars shoot 
and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other 
part of the country, and the night-mare, with her whole nine 
fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols. 

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted 
region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers 
of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a 
head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, 
whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some 
nameless battle during the revolutionary war, and who is ever 
and anon seen by the country folk, hurrying along in the gloom 
of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are 
not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adja- 
cent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no 
great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic histori- 
ans of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and 
collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege, that 
the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, 
the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of 
his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes 
passes along the hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his 
being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard 
before daybreak. 

Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, 
which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that 
region of shadows ; and the spectre is known at all the country 
firesides, by the name of The Headless Horseman of Sleepy 

It is remarkable, that the visionary propensity I have men- 
tioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, 


but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there 
for a time. However wide awake they may have been before 
they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, 
to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow 
imaginative to dream dreams, and see apparitions. 

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud ; for it 
is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there 
embosomed in the great State of New- York, that population, 
manners, and customs remain fixed, while the great torrent of 
migration and improvement, which is making such incessant 
changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them 
unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still water, 
which border a rapid stream, where we may see the straw and 
bubble riding quietly at anchor, or slowty revolving in their 
mimic harbor, undisturbed by the rush of the passing current. 
Though many years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades 
of Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I should not still find 
the same trees and the same families vegetating in its sheltered 
bosom . 

In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote period of 
American history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a 
worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane, who sojourned, 
or, as he expressed it, " tarried," in Sleepy Hollow, for the 
purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a 
native of Connecticut, a State which supplies the Union with 
pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest, and sends forth 
yearly its legions of frontier woodsmen and country school- 
masters. The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to 
his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow 
shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out 
of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his 
whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, 
and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a 
long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched 
upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To 
see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, 
with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might 
have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon 
the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield. 

His school-house was a low building of one large room, 
rudely constructed of logs ; the windows partly glazed, and 
partly patched with leaves of old copy-books. It was most in- 
geniously secured at vacant hours by a withe twisted in the 
handle of the door, and stakes set against the window-shutters ; 


so that though a thief might get in with perfect ease, he would 
find some embarrassment in getting out : an idea most proba- 
bly borrowed by the architect, Yost Van Houten, from the 
mystery of an eelpot. The school-house stood in a rather 
lonely but pleasant situation, just at the foot of a woody hill, 
with a brook running close by, and a formidable birch-tree 
growing at one end of it. From hence the low murmur of his 
pupil's voices, conning over their lessons, might be heard in 
a drowsy summer's day, like the hum of a beehive ; interrupted 
now and then by the authoritative voice of the master, in the 
tone of menace or command ; or, peradventure, by the appall- 
ing sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along 
the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to say, he was a con- 
scientious man, that and bore in mind the golden maxim, 
"spare the rod and spoil the child." Ichabod Crane's scholars 
certainly were not spoiled. 

I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one of 
those cruel potentates of the school, who joy in the smart of 
their subjects ; on the contrary, he administered justice with 
discrimination rather than severity ; taking the burthen off the 
backs of the weak, and laying it on those of the strong. Your 
mere puny stripling that winced at the least flourish of the rod, 
was passed by with indulgence ; but the claims of justice were 
satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little, tough, 
wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and 
swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All 
this he called " doing his duty by their parents ; " and he never 
inflicted a chastisement without following it by the assurance, 
so consolatory to the smarting urchin, that " he would remem- 
ber it and thank him for it the longest day he had to live." 

When school hours were over, he was even the companion 
and playmate of the larger boys ; and on holiday afternoons 
would convoy some of the smaller ones home, who happened 
to have pretty sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted 
for the comforts of the cupboard. Indeed, it behooved him to 
keep on good terms with his pupils. The revenue arising from 
his school was small, and would have been scarcely sufficient 
to furnish him with daily bread, for he was a huge feeder, and 
though lank, had the dilating powers of an anaconda ; but to 
help out his maintenance, he was, according to country custom 
in those parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers, 
whose children he instructed. With these he lived successively, 
a week at a time, thus going the rounds of the neighborhood, 
with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton handkerchief. 


That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his 
rustic patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of schooling a 
grievous burthen, and schoolmasters as mere drones, he had 
various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable. 
He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of 
their farms ; helped to make hay ; mended the fences ; took 
the horses to water ; drove the cows from pasture ; and cut 
wood for the winter fire. He laid aside, too, all the dominant 
dignity and absolute swa}', with which he lorded it in his little 
empire, the school, and became wonderfully gentle and ingrati- 
ating. He found favor in the eyes of the mothers, by petting 
the children, particularly the youngest ; and like the lion bold, 
which whilom so magnanimously the lamb did hold, he would 
sit with a child on one knee, and rock a cradle with his foot for 
whole hours together. 

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing-master 
of the neighborhood, and picked up many bright shillings by 
instructing the young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of 
no little vanity to him on Sundays, to take his station in front 
of the church gallery, with a baud of chosen singers ; where, in 
his own mind, he completely carried away the palm from the 
parson. Certain it is, his voice resounded far above all the rest 
of the congregation, and there are peculiar quavers still to be 
heard in that church, and which may even be heard half a mile 
off, quite to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still Sunday 
morning, which are said to be legitimately descended from the 
nose of Ichabod Crane. Thus, by divers little makeshifts, in 
that ingenious way which is commonly denominated " by hook 
and by crook," the worthy pedagogue got on tolerably enough, 
and was thought, by all who understood nothing of the labor of 
head-work, to have a wonderfully easy life of it. 

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in 
the female circle of a rural neighborhood ; being considered a 
kind of idle gentleman-like personage, of vastly superior taste 
and accomplishments to the rough country swains, and, in- 
deed, inferior in learning only to the parson. His appearance, 
therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at the tea-table of a 
farm-house, and the addition of a supernumerary dish of cakes 
or sweetmeats, or, peradventure, the parade of a silver teapot. 
Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles 
of all the country damsels. How he would figure among them 
in the churchyard, between services on Sundays! gathering 
grapes for them from the wild vines that overrun the surround- 
ing trees ; reciting for their amusement all the epitaphs on the 


tombstones ; or sauntering with a whole bevy of them, along 
the banks of the adjacent mill-pond : while the more bashful 
country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, envying his superior 
elegance and address. 

From his half itinerant life, also, he was a kind of travelling 
gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house 
to house ; so that his appearance was always greeted with satis- 
faction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man 
of great erudition, for he had read several books quite through, 
and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather's History of New- 
England Witchcraft, in which, by the way, he most firmly and 
potently believed. 

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and 
simple credulity. His appetite for the marvellous, and his 
powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary ; and both 
had been increased by his residence in this spell-bound region. 
No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. 
It was often his delight, after his school was dismissed in the 
afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of clover, border- 
ing the little brook that whimpered by his school-house, and 
there con over old Mather's direful tales, until the gathering 
dusk of evening made the printed page a mere mist before his 
eyes. Then, as he wended his way, by swamp and stream 
and awful woodland, to the farm-house where he happened to 
be quartered, every sound of nature, at that witching hour, 
fluttered his excited imagination ; the moan of the whip-poor- 
will * from the hill-side ; the boding cry of the tree-toad, that 
harbinger of storm ; the dreary hooting of the screech-owl ; or 
the sudden rustling in the thicket, of birds frightened from 
their roosjt. The fire-flies, too, which sparkled most vividly in 
the darkest places, now and then startled him, as one of un- 
common brightness would stream across his path ; and if, by 
chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging his blunder- 
ing flight against him, the poor varlet was ready to give up the 
ghost, with the idea that he was struck with a witch's token. 
His only resource on such occasions, either to drown thought, 
or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes ; and the 
good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their doors of 
an evening, were often filled with awe, at hearing his nasal 
melody, " in linked sweetness long drawn out," floating from 
the distant hill, or along the dusky road. 

1 The whip-poor-will is a bird which is only heard at night. It receives its name 
from its note, which is thought to resemble those words. 


Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was, to pass long 
winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning 
by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along 
the hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts, and 
goblins, and haunted fields and haunted brooks, and haunted 
bridges and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless 
horseman, or galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they some- 
times called him. He would delight them equally by his anec- 
dotes of witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous 
sights and sounds in the air, which prevailed in the earlier 
times of Connecticut ; and would frighten them wofully with 
speculations upon comets and shooting stars, and with the 
alarming fact that the world did absolutely turn round, and 
that they were half the time topsy-turvy ! 

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cuddling 
in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a ruddy 
glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no 
spectre dared to show his face, it was dearly purchased by the 
terrors of his subsequent walk homewards. What fearful 
shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly 
glare of a snowy night ! With what wistful look did he eye 
every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields 
from some distant window ! How often was he appalled by 
some shrub covered with snow, which like a sheeted spectre 
beset his very path ! How often did he shrink with curdling 
awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath 
his feet ; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should 
behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! and 
how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rush- 
ing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the 
galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings ! 

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms 
of the mind, that walk in darkness : and though he had seen 
many spectres .in his time, and been more than once beset by 
Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet day- 
light put an end to all these evils ; and he would have passed 
a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, 
if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more 
perplexity to mortal man, than ghosts, goblins, and the whole 
race of witches put together; and that was a woman. 

Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening 
in each week to receive his instructions in psalmod}', was 
Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a substan- 
tial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen ; 


plump as a partridge ; ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as 
one of her father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely 
for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was withal a 
little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, 
which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most 
suited to set off her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure 
yellow gold, which her great-great-grandmother had brought 
over from Saardam ; the tempting stomacher of the olden time, 
and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest 
foot and ankle in the country round. 

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward the sex ; 
and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel soon 
found favor in his eyes, more especially after he had visited her 
in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect 
picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer. He 
seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his thoughts beyond 
the boundaries of his own farm ; but within those, every thing 
was snug, happy, and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with 
his wealth, but not proud of it ; and piqued himself upon the 
hearty abundance, rather than the style in which he lived. His 
stronghold was situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of 
those green, sheltered, fertile nooks, in which the Dutch farm- 
ers are so fond of nestling. A great elm-tree spread its broad 
branches over it ; at the foot of which bubbled up a spring of 
the softest and sweetest, water, in a little well, formed of a 
barrel ; and then stole sparkling away through the grass, to a 
neighboring brook, that babbled along among alders and dwarf 
willows. Hard by the farm-house was a vast barn, that might 
have served for a church ; every window and crevice of which 
seemed bursting forth with the treasures of the farm ; the flail 
was busily resounding within it from morning to night ; swal- 
lows and martens skimmed twittering about the eaves ; and rows 
of pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as if watching the 
weather, some with their heads under their wings, or buried in 
their bosoms, and others, swelling, and cooing, and bowing 
about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine on the roof. 
Sleek, unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose and 
abundance of their pens, whence sallied forth, now and then, 
troops of sucking pigs, as if to snuff the air. A stately squad- 
ron of snowy geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoy- 
ing whole fleets of ducks ; regiments of turkeys were gobbling 
through the farm-yard, and guinea-fowls fretting about it like 
ill-tempered housewives, with their peevish, discontented cry. 
Before the barn door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of 


a husband, a warrior, and a fine gentleman ; clapping his bur- 
nished wings and crowing in the pride and gladness of his 
heart sometimes tearing up the earth with his feet, and then 
generously calling his ever-hungry family of wives and chil- 
dren to enjoy the rich morsel which he had discovered. 

The pedagogue's mouth watered, as he looked upon this 
sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring 
mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting pig running 
about, with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth ; 
the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and 
tucked in with a coverlet of crust ; the geese were swimming 
in their own gravy ; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like 
snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. 
In the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, 
and juicy relishing ham ; not a turkey, but he beheld daintily 
trussed up, with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, 
a necklace of savory sausages ; and even bright chanticleer 
himself lay sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with uplifted 
claws, as if craving that quarter which his chivalrous spirit dis- 
dained to ask while living. 

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled 
his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the rich fields 
of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the or- 
chards burthened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded the warm 
tenement of Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the damsel 
who was to inherit these domains, and his imagination ex- 
panded with the idea, how they might be readily turned into 
cash, and the money invested in immense tracts of wild land, 
and shingle palaces in the wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy 
already realized his hopes, and presented to him the blooming 
Katrina, with a whole family of children, mounted on the top 
of a wagon loaded with household trumpery, with pots and 
kettles dangling beneath ; and he beheld himself bestriding a 
pacing mare, with a colt at her heels 5 setting out for Kentucky, 
Tennessee or the Lord knows where ! 

When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was 
complete. It was one of those spacious farm-houses, with high- 
ridged, but lowly-sloping roofs, built in the style handed down 
from the first Dutch settlers. The low projecting eaves form- 
ing a piazza along the front, capable of being closed up in bad 
weather. Under this were hung flails, harness, various utensils 
of husbandly, and nets for fishing in the neighboring river. 
Benches were built along the sides for summer use ; and a great 
spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the other, showed 


the various uses to which this important porch might be de- 
voted. From this piazza the wondering Ichabod entered the 
hall, which formed the centre of the mansion, and the place of 
usual residence. Here rows of resplendent pewter, ranged on a 
long dresser, dazzled his eyes. In one corner stood a huge bag 
of wool, ready to be spun ; in another, a quantity of linsey- 
woolsey, just from the loom ; ears of Indian corn, and strings of 
dried apples and peaches, Hung in gay festoons along the walls, 
mingled with the gaud of red peppers ; and a door left ajar, 
gave him a peep into the best parlor, where the claw-footed 
chairs, and dark mahogany tables, shone like mirrors ; and- 
irons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs, glistened 
from their covert of asparagus tops ; mock-oranges and conch 
shells decorated the mantelpiece ; strings of various colored 
birds' eggs were suspended above it ; a great ostrich egg was 
hung from the centre of the room, and a corner cupboard, 
knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old silver 
and well-mended china. 

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions 
of delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and hi* 
only study was how to gain the affections of the peerless 
daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had 
more real difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a knight- 
errant of yore, who seldom had any thing but giants, enchant- 
ers, fiery dragons, and such like easily conquered adversaries, 
to contend with ; and had to make his way merely through 
gates of iron and brass, and walls of adamant to the castle- 
keep where the lady of his heart was confined ; all which he 
achieved as easily as a man would carve his way to the centre 
of a Christmas pie, and then the lady gave him her hand as a 
matter of course. Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his 
way to the heart of a country coquette beset with a labyrinth 
of whims and caprices, which were forever presenting new 
difficulties and impediments, and he had to encounter a host of 
fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood, the numerous rustic 
admirers, who beset every portal to her heart ; keeping a watch- 
ful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fly out in the 
common cause against any new competitor. 

Among these the most formidable was a burly, roaring, 
roystering blade of the name of Abraham, or according to 
the Dutch abbreviation, Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the 
country round, which rang with his feats of strength and har- 
dihood. He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with 
short curly black hair, and a bluff but not unpleasant coun- 


tenance, having a mingled air of fun and arrogance. From 
his Herculean frame and great powers of limb, he had received 
the nickname of BROM BONES, by which he was universally 
known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill in 
horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. 
He was foremost at all races and cock-fights, and with the 
ascendency which bodily strength acquires in rustic life, 
was the umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side, 
and giving his decisions with an air and tone admitting of 
no gainsay or appeal. He was always ready for either a 
fight or a frolic; but had more mischief than ill-will in 
his composition ; and with all his overbearing roughness there 
was a strong dash of waggish good-humor at bottom. He 
had three or four boon companions who regarded him as their 
model, and at the head of whom he scoured the country, 
attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles round. 
In cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap, surmounted 
with a flaunting fox's tail ; and when the folks at a country 
gathering descried this well-known crest at a distance, whisking 
about among a squad of hard riders, they always stood by for 
a squall. Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along 
past the farm-houses at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like 
a troop of Don Cossacks, and the old dames, startled out of 
their sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had 
clattered by, and then exclaim, "Ay, there goes Brom Bones 
and his gang! " The neighbors looked upon him with a mix- 
ture of awe, admiration, and good-will ; and when any madcap 
prank or rustic brawl occurred in the vicinity, always shook 
their heads, and warranted Brom Bones was at the bottom of it. 

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the bloom- 
ing Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries, and 
though his amorous toyings were something like the gentle 
caresses and endearments of a bear, j*et it was whispered that 
she did not altogether discourage his hopes. Certain it is, his 
advances were signals for rival candidates to retire, who felt 
no inclination to cross a lion in his amours ; insomuch, that 
when his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel's paling, on a 
Sunday night, a sure sign that his master was courting, or, as 
it is termed, 4t sparking," within, all other suitors passed by in 
despair, and carried the war into other quarters. 

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had 
to contend, and considering all things, a stouter man than he 
would have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser man would 
have despaired. He had, however, a happy mixture of plia- 


bility and perseverance in his nature ; he was in form and spirit 
like a supple-jack yielding, but tough; though he bent, he 
never broke ; and though he bowed beneath the slightest pressure, 
yet the moment it was away jerk ! he was as erect, and 
carried his head as high as ever. 

To have taken the field openly against his rival, would have 
been madness ; for he was not a man to be thwarted in his 
amours, an}' more than that stormy lover, Achilles. Ichabod, 
therefore, made his advances in a quiet and gently-insinuating 
manner. Under cover of his character of singing-master, he 
made frequent visits at the farm-house ; not that he had any 
thing to apprehend from the meddlesome interference of parents, 
which is so often a stumbling-block in the path of lovers. Bait 
Van Tassel was an easy indulgent soul ; he loved his daughter 
better even than his pipe, and, like a reasonable man. and an ex- 
cellent father, let her have her way in every thing. His notable 
little wife, too, had enough to do to attend to her housekeeping 
and manage her poultry ; for, as she sagely observed, ducks 
and geese are foolish things, and must be looked after, but 
girls can take care of themselves. Thus, while the busy dame 
bustled about the house, or plied her spinning-wheel at one end 
of the piazza, honest Bait would sit smoking his evening pipe 
at the other, watching the achievements of a little wooden war- 
rior, who, armed with a sword in each hand, was most valiantly 
fighting the wind on the pinnacle of the barn. In the mean 
time, Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by the 
side of the spring under the great elm, or sauntering along in 
the twilight, that hour so favorable to the lover's eloquence. 

I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and 
won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and ad- 
miration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point, or door 
of access ; while others have a thousand avenues, and may be 
captured in a thousand different ways. It is a great triumph 
of skill to gain the former, but a still greater proof of general- 
ship to maintain possession of the latter, for a man must battle 
for his fortress at every door and window. He who wins a 
thousand common hearts, is therefore entitled to some renown ; 
but he who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette, 
is indeed a hero. Certain it is, this was not the case with the 
redoubtable Brom Bones ; and from the moment Ichabod Crane 
made his advances, the interests of the former evidently de- 
clined : his horse was no longer seen tied at the palings on 
Sunday nights, and a deadly feud gradually arose between him 
and the preceptor of Sleep}- Hollow. 


Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, 
would fain have carried matters to open warfare, and have settled 
their pretensions to the lady, according to the mode of those 
most concise and simple reasoners, the knights-errant of yore 
by single combat ; but Ichabod was too conscious of the su- 
perior might of his adversary to enter the lists against him ; 
he had overheard a boast of Bones, that he would u double the 
schoolmaster up, and lay him on a shelf of his own school-house ;" 
and he was too wary to give him an opportunity. There was some- 
thing extremely provoking in this obstinately pacific system ; it left 
Brom no alternative but to draw upon the funds of rustic wag- 
gery in his disposition, and to play off boorish practical jokes 
upon his rival. Ichabod became the object of whimsical perse- 
cution to Bones, and his gang of rough riders. They harried 
his hitherto peaceful domains ; smoked out his singing-school, 
by stopping up the chimney ; broke into the school-house at 
night, in spite of its formidable fastenings of withe and win- 
dow stakes, and turned every thing topsy-turvy ; so that the 
poor schoolmaster began to think all the witches in the country 
held their meetings there. But what was still more annoying, 
Brom took all opportunities of turning him into ridicule in pres- 
ence of his mistress, and had a scoundrel dog whom he taught 
to whine in the most ludicrous manner, and introduced as a 
rival of Ichabod's, to instruct her in psalmody. 

In this way, matters went on for some time, without pro- 
ducing any material effect on the relative situations of the con- 
tending powers. On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, in 
pensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool whence he usu- 
ally watched all the concerns of his little literary realm. Jn 
his hand he swayed a ferule, that sceptre of despotic power ; 
the birch of justice reposed on three nails, behind the throne, a 
constant terror to evil doers ; while on the desk before him 
might be seen sundry contraband articles and prohibited weap- 
ons, detected upon the persons of idle urchins ; such as half- 
munched apples, popguns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and whole 
legions of rampant little paper game-cocks. Apparently there 
had been some appalling act of justice recently inflicted, for 
his scholars were all busily intent upon their books, or slyly 
whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the master ; and 
a kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout the school- room. 
It was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro in 
tow-cloth jacket and trowsers, a round-crowned fragment of 
a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on the back of a 
ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he managed with a rope 


by way of halter. He came clattering up to the school-door 
with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merry-making, or 
" quilting frolic," to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tas- 
sel's ; and having delivered his message with that air of impor- 
tance, and effort at fine language, which a negro is apt to 
display on petty embassies of the kind, he dashed over the 
brook, and was seen scampering away up the hollow, full of 
the importance and hurry of his mission. 

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet school-room. 
The scholars were hurried through their lessons, without stop- 
ping at trifles ; those who were nimble, skipped over half with 
impunity, and those who were tardy, had a smart application 
now and then in the rear, to quicken their speed, or help them 
over a tall word. Books were flung aside, without being put 
away on the shelves ; inkstands were overturned, benches 
thrown down, and the whole school was turned loose an hour 
before the usual time ; bursting forth like a legion of young 
imps, yelping and racketing about the green, in joy at their 
early emancipation. 

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half-hour at 
his toilet, brushing and furbishing up his best, and indeed only 
suit of rusty black, and arranging his locks by a bit of broken 
looking-glass, that hung up in the school-house. That he 
might make his appearance before his mistress in the true 
style of a cavalier, he borrowed a horse from the farmer with 
whom he was domiciliated, a choleric old Dutchman, of the 
name of Hans Van Ripper, and thus gallantly mounted, issued 
forth like a knight-errant in quest of adventures. But it is 
meet I should, in the true spirit of romantic story, give some 
account of the looks and equipments of my hero and his steed. 

The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plough-horse, 
that had outlived almost every thing but his viciousness. He 
was gaunt and shagged, with a ewe neck and a head like a 
hammer ; his rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted 
with burrs ; one eye had lost its pupil, and was glaring and 
spectral, but the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in it. 
Still he must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may 
judge from his name, which was Gunpowder. He had, in fact, 
been a favorite steed of his master's, the choleric Van Ripper, 
who was a furious rider, and had infused, very probably, 
some of his own spirit into the animal ; for, old and broken- 
down as he looked, there was more of the lurking devil in him 
than in any young filly in the country. 

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode with 


short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pom- 
mel of the saddle ; his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshop- 
pers' ; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand, like a 
sceptre, and as his horse jogged on, the motion of his arms 
was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. A small wool 
hat rested on the top of his. nose, for so his scanty strip of 
forehead might be called, and the skirts of his black coat flut- 
tered out almost to the horse's tail. Such was the appearance 
of Ichabod and his steed as they shambled out of the gate of 
Hans Van Ripper, and it was altogether such an apparition as 
is seldom to be met with in broad daylight. 

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day ; the sky was 
clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery 
which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The 
forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some 
trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into 
brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files 
of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air ; 
the bark of the squirrel might be heard from the groves of 
beech and hickor3*-nuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail 
at intervals from the neighboring stubble field. 

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In the 
fulness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and frolicking, 
from bush to bush, and tree to tree, capricious from the very 
profusion and variety around them. There was the honest cock- 
robin, the favorite game of stripling sportsmen, with its loud 
querulous note, and the twittering blackbirds flying in sable 
clouds ; and the golden winged woodpecker, with his crimson 
crest, his broad black gorget, and splendid plumage ; and the 
cedar-bird, with its red-tipt wings and yellow- tipt tail, and its 
little monteiro cap of feathers ; and the blue jay, that noisy 
coxcomb, in his gay light blue coat and white underclothes, 
screaming and chattering, nodding, and bobbing, and bowing, 
and pretending to be on good terms with every songster of the 

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open to 
every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight 
over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld 
vast store of apples, some hanging in oppressive opulence on 
the trees ; some gathered into baskets and barrels for the 
market ; others heaped up in rich piles for the cider-press. 
Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its 
golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out 
the promise of cakes and hasty-pudding ; and the 3'ellow 


pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their fair round 
bellies to the sun, and giving ample prospects of the most 
luxurious of pies ; and anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat 
fields, breathing the odor of the bee-hive, and as he beheld 
them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty slap- 
jacks, well buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle, by 
the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel. 

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and 
u sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of a 
range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest 
scenes of the mighty Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled 
his broad disk down into the west. The wide bosom of the 
Tappaii Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting that here 
and there a gentle undulation waved and prolonged the blue 
shadow of the distant mountain. A few amber clouds floated 
in the sky, without a breath of air to move them. The horizon 
was, of a fine golden tint, changing gradually into a pure apple 
green, and from that into the deep blue of the mid-heaven. A 
slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the precipices that 
overhung some parts of the river, giving greater depth to the 
dark gray and purple of their rocky sides. A sloop was 
loitering in the distance, dropping slowly down with the tide, 
her sail hanging uselessly against the mast ; and as the reflec- 
tion of the sky gleamed along the still water, it seemed as if 
the vessel was suspended in the air. 

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of 
the Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the pride 
and flower of the adjacent country. Old farmers, a spare 
leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, blue 
stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. Their 
brisk, withered little dames, in close crimped caps, long- 
waisted short gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and 
pin-cushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside. 
Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as their mothers, except- 
ing where a straw hat, a fine ribbon, or perhaps a white frock, 
gave symptoms of city innovation. The sons, in short square- 
skirted coats, with rows of stupendous brass buttons, and their 
hair generally queued in the fashion of the times, especially 
if they could procure an eelskin for the purpose, it being 
esteemed throughout the country, as a potent nourisher and 
strengthener of the hair. 

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having 
come to the gathering on his favorite steed Daredevil, a 
creature, like himself, full of mettle and mischief, and which 


no one but himself could manage. He was, in fact, noted for 
preferring vicious animals, given to all kinds of tricks which 
kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, for he held a tract- 
able well-broken horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit. 

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms that 
burst upon the enraptured, gaze of my hero, as he entered the 
state parlor of Van Tassel's mansion. Not those of the bevy 
of buxom lasses, with their luxurious display of red and white ; 
but the ample charms of a genuine Dutch country tea-table, in 
the sumptuous time of autumn. Such heaped-up platters of 
cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only 
to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty 
dough-nut, the tenderer oly-koek, and the crisp and crumbling 
cruller ; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey 
cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were 
apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies ; besides slices 
of ham and smoked beef ; and moreover delectable dishes of 
preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces ; not to 
mention broiled shad and roasted chickens ; together with bowls 
of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, pretty much 
as I have enumerated them, with the motherly tea-pot sending 
up its clouds of vapor from the midst - Heaven bless the 
mark ! I want breath and time to discuss this banquet as it 
deserves, and am too eager to get on with my story. Happily, 
Ichabod Crane was not in so great a hurry as his historian, but 
did ample justice to every dainty. 

He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated 
in proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer, and whose 
spirits rose with eating, as some men's do with drink. He 
could not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him as he ate, 
and chuckling with the possibility that he might one day be 
lord of all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splen- 
dor. Then, he thought, how soon he'd turn his back upon the 
old school-house ; snap his fingers in the face of Hans Van 
Ripper, and every other niggardly patron, and kick any itin- 
erant pedagogue out of doors that should dare to call him 
comrade ! 

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests with a 
face dilated with content and good-humor, round and jolly as 
the harvest moon. His hospitable attentions were brief, but 
expressive, being confined to a shake of the hand, a slap on 
the shoulder, aloud laugh, and a pressing invitation to "fall 
to, and help themselves." 

And now the sound of the music from the common room, or 


hall, summoned to the dance. The musician was an old gray- 
headed negro, who had been the itinerant orchestra of the 
neighborhood for more than half a century. His instrument 
was as old and battered as himself. The greater part of the 
time he scraped on two or three strings, accompanying every 
movement of the bow with a motion of the head ; bowing almost 
to the ground, and stamping with his foot whenever a fresh 
couple were to start. 

Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon 
his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fibre about him was idle ; 
and to have seen his loosely hung frame in full motion, and 
clattering about the room, you would have thought St. Vitus 
himself, that blessed patron of the dance, was figuring before 
you in person. He was the admiration of all the negroes ; who, 
having gathered, of all ages and sizes, from the farm and the 
neighborhood, stood forming a pyramid of shining black faces 
at every door and window ; gazing with delight at the scene ; 
rolling their white eye-balls, and showing grinning rows of 
ivory from ear to ear. How could the flogger of urchins be 
otherwise than animated and joyous? the lady of his heart 
was his partner in the dance, and smiling graciously in reply 
to all his amorous oglings ; while Brom Bones, sorely smitten 
with love and jealousy, sat brooding by himself in one corner. 

When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a 
knot of the sager folks, who, with Old Van Tassel, sat smoking 
at one end of the piazza, gossiping over former times, and 
drawling out long stories about the war. 

This neighborhood, at the time of which I am speaking, was 
one of those highly favored places which abound with chroni- 
cle and great men. The British and American line had run 
near it during the war; it had, therefore, been the scene of 
marauding, and infested with refugees, cow-boys, and all kinds 
of border chivalry. Just sufficient time had elapsed to enable 
each story-teller to dress up his tale with a little becoming fic- 
tion, and, in the indistinctness of his recollection, to make hire- 
self the hero of every exploit. 

There was the story pf Doffue Martling, a large blue-bearded 
Dutchman, who had nearly taken a British frigate with an old 
iron nine-pounder from a mud breastwork, only that his gun 
burst at the sixth discharge. And there was an old gentleman 
who shall be nameless, being too rich a mynheer to be lightly 
mentioned, who, in the battle of Whiteplains, being an excel- 
lent master of defence, parried a musket-ball with a small- 
sword, insomuch that he absolutely felt it whiz round the blade, 


and glance off at the hilt ; in proof of which he was ready at 
any time to show the sword, with the hilt a little bent. There 
were several more that had been equally great in the field, not 
one of whom but was persuaded that he had a considerable 
hand in bringing the war to a happ3 r termination. 

But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and appari- 
tions that succeeded. The neighborhood is rich in legendary 
treasures of the kind. Local tales and superstitions thrive 
best in these sheltered, long-settled retreats ; but are trampled 
under foot, by the shifting throng that forms the population 
of most of our country places. Besides, there is no encourage- 
ment for ghosts in most of our villages, for they have scarcely 
had time to finish their first nap. and turn themselves in their 
graves, before their surviving friends have travelled away from 
the neighborhood : so that when they turn out at night to walk 
their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This 
is perhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except 
in our long-established Dutch communities. 

The immediate cause, however, of the prevalence of super- 
natural stones in these parts, was doubtless owing to the 
vicinity of Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in the very 
air that blew from that haunted region ; it breathed forth an 
atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land. Sev- 
eral of the Sleepy Hollow people were present at Van Tassel's, 
and, as usual, were doling out their wild and wonderful legends. 
Many dismal tales were told about funeral trains, and mourn- 
ing cries and wailings heard and seen about the great tree 
where the unfortunate Major Andre" was taken, and which 
stood in the neighborhood. Some mention was made also of 
the woman in white, that haunted the dark glen at Raven Rock, 
and was often heard to shriek on winter nights before a storm, 
having perished there in the snow. The chief part of the 
stories, however, turned upon the favorite spectre of Sleepy 
Hollow, the headless horseman, who had been heard several 
times of late, patrolling the country ; and it was said, tethered 
his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard. 

The sequestered situation of this church seems always to 
have made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands 
on a knoll, surrounded by locust-trees and lofty elms, from 
among which its decent, whitewashed walls shine modestly 
forth, like Christian purity, beaming through the shades of 
retirement. A gentle slope descends from it to a silver sheet 
of water, bordered by high trees, between which, peeps may 
be caught at the blue hills of the Hudson. To look upon its 


grass-grown yard, where the sunbeams seem to sleep so quietly, 
one would think that there at least the dead might rest in 
peace. On one side of the church extends a wide woody dell, 
along which raves a large brook among broken rocks and 
trunks of fallen trees. Over a deep black part of the stream, 
not far from the church, was formerly thrown a wooden bridge ; 
the road that led to it, and the bridge itself, were thickly 
shaded by overhanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, 
even in the daytime ; but occasioned a fearful darkness at 
night. This was one of the favorite haunts of the headless 
"horseman, and the place where he was most frequently encoun- 
tered. The tale was told of old Brouwer, a most heretical 
disbeliever in ghosts, how he met the horseman returning from 
his foray into Sleepy Hollow, and was obliged to get up behind 
him ; how they galloped over bush and brake, over hill and 
swamp, until they reached the bridge ; when the horseman 
suddenly turned into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into the 
brook, and sprang away over the tree-tops with a clap of 

This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvellous 
adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of the galloping 
Hessian as an arrant jockey. He affirmed, that on returning 
one night from the neighboring village of Sing-Sing, he had 
been overtaken by this midnight trooper ; that he had offered to 
race with him for a bowl of punch, and should have won it 
too, for Daredevil beat the goblin horse all hollow, but just as 
they came to the church bridge, the Hessian bolted, and van- 
ished in a flash of fire. 

All these tales, told in that drowsy undertone with which 
men talk in the dark, the countenances of the listeners only 
now and then receiving a casual gleam from the glare of a 
pipe, sank deep in the mind of Ichabod. He repaid them in 
kind with large extracts from his invaluable author, Cotton 
Mather, and added many marvellous events that had taken 
place in his native State of Connecticut, and fearful sights 
which he had seen in his nightly walks about Sleepy Hollow. 

The revel now gradually broke up. The old farmers gathered 
together their families in their wagons, and were heard for 
some time rattling along the hollow roads, and over the distant 
hills. Some of the damsels mounted on pillions behind their 
favorite swains, and their light-hearted laughter, mingling with 
the clatter of hoofs, echoed along the silent woodlands, sound- 
ing fainter and fainter, until they gradually died away and 
the late scene of noise and frolic was all silent and deserted. 


Ichabod only lingered behind, according to the custom of coun- 
try lovers, to have a tete-a-tete with the heiress ; fully con- 
vinced that he was now on the high road to success. What 
passed at this interview I will not pretend to say, for in fact I 
do not know. Something, however, I fear me, must have gone 
wrong, for he certainly sallied forth, after no very great inter- 
val, with an air quite desolate and chopfallen Oh, these 
women ! these women ! Could that girl have been playing off 
anj T of her coquettish tricks ? Was her encouragement of the 
poor pedagogue all a mere sham to secure her conquest of his 
rival? Heaven only knows, not I! let it suffice to say, 
Ichabod stole forth with the air of one who had been sacking a 
hen-roost, rather than a fair lady's heart. Without looking to 
the right or left to notice the scene of rural wealth, on which he 
had so often gloated, he went straight to the stable, and with 
several hearty cuffs and kicks, roused his steed most uncour- 
teously from the comfortable quarters in which he was soundly 
sleeping, dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, and whole 
valleys of timothy and clover. 

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy- 
hearted and crest-fallen, pursued his travel homewards, along 
the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and 
which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour 
was as dismal as himself. Far below him the Tappan Zee 
spread its dusky and indistinct waste of waters, with here and 
there the tall mast of a sloop, riding quietly at anchor under 
the land. In the dead hush of midnight, he could even hear the 
barking of the watch-dog from the opposite shore of the Hud- 
son ; but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of 
his distance from this faithful companion of man. Now and 
then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally 
awakened, would sound far, far off, from some farm-house, 
away among the hills but it was like a dreaming sound in his 
ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occasionally the 
melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of 
a bull-frog from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfort- 
ably, and turning suddenly in his bed. 

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the 
afternoon, now came crowding upon his recollection. The 
night grew darker and darker ; the stars seemed to sink deeper 
in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from 
his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, 
moreover, approaching the very place where many of the 
scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In the centre of the 


road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which towered like a giant 
above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a 
kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled and fantastic, large 
enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost 
to the earth, and rising again into the air. It was connected 
with the tragical story of the unfortunate Andre, who had been 
taken prisoner hard by ; and was universally known by the 
name of Major Andrews tree. The common people regarded 
it with a mixture of respect and superstition, partly out of 
sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and partly 
fa-om the tales of strange sights, and doleful lamentations, told 
concerning it. 

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle ; 
he thought his whistle was answered : it was but a blast sweep- 
ing sharply through the dry branches. As he approached a 
little nearer, he thought he saw something white, hanging in 
the midst of the tree ; he paused, and ceased whistling ; but 
on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place where 
the tree had been scathed by lightning, and the white wood 
laid bare. Suddenly he heard a groan his teeth chattered, 
and his knees smote against the saddle : it was but the rubbing 
of one huge bough upon another, as they were swayed about 
by the breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils 
lay before him. 

About two hundred yards from the tree, a small brook 
crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly- wooded 
glen, known by the name of Wiley's Swamp. A few rough 
logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. 
On that side of the road where the brook entered the wood, a 
group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grape- 
vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To pass this bridge, 
was the severest trial. It was at this identical spot that the 
unfortunate Andre was captured, and under the covert of 
those chestnuts and vines were the sturdy yeomen concealed 
who surprised him. This has ever since been considered a 
haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of a schoolboy 
who has to pass it alone after dark. 

As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump ; he 
summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half 
a score of kicks in the ribs and attempted to dash briskly 
across the bridge ; but instead of starting forward, the perverse 
old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against 
the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, 
jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with 


the contrary foot : it was all in vain ; his steed started, it is 
true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road 
into a thicket of brambles and alder-bushes. The school- 
master now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling 
ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forwards, snuffling and 
snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a sud- 
denness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. 
Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge 
caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of 
the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something 
huge, misshapen, black and towering. It stirred not, but 
seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster 
ready to spring upon the traveller. 

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with 
terror. What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too 
late ; and besides, what chance was there of escaping ghost or 
goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon the wings of 
the wind? Summoning up, therefore, a show of courage, he 
demanded in stammering accents "Who are you?" He 
received no reply. He repeated his demand in a still more 
agitated voice. Still there was no answer. Once more he 
cudgelled the sides of the inflexible Gunpowder, and shutting 
his eyes, broke forth with involuntary fervor into a psalm tune. 
Just then the shadowy object of alarm put itself in motion, 
and with a scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle 
of the road. Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the 
form of the unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. 
He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and 
mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no 
offer of molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of 
the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, 
who had now got over his fright and waywardness. 

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight com- 
panion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones 
with the galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes 
of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his 
horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a 
walk, thinking to lag behind the other did the same. His 
heart began to sink within him ; he endeavored to resume his 
psalm tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his 
mouth, and he could not utter a stave. There was something 
in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious compan- 
ion, that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully 
accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought 


the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, 
gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror- 
struck, on perceiving that he was headless ! but his horror was 
still more increased, on observing that the head, which should 
have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the 
pommel of his saddle ! His terror rose to desperation ; he 
rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping, 
by a sudden movement, to give his companion the slip but 
the spectre started full jump with him. Away, then, they 
dashed through thick and thin ; stones flying and sparks flash- 
ing at every bound. Ichabod 's flimsy garments fluttered in the 
air, as he stretched his long lank body away over his horse's 
head, in the eagerness of his flight. 

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy 
Hollow ; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a demon, 
instead of keeping up it, made an opposite turn, and plunged 
headlong down hill to the left. This road leads through a 
sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, 
where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story ; and just 
beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the white- 
washed church. 

As yet the panic of the steed had given his unskilful rider 
an apparent advantage in the chase ; but just as he had got 
half-way through the hollow, the girths of the saddle gave 
way, and he felt it slipping from under him. He seized it by 
the pommel, and endeavored to hold it firm, but in vain ; and 
had just time to save himself by clasping old Gunpowder 
round the neck, when the saddle fell to the earth, and he heard 
it trampled under foot by his pursuer. For a moment the 
terror of Hans Van Ripper's wrath passed across his mind for 
it was his Sunday saddle ; but this was no time for petty 
fears : the goblin was hard on his haunches ; and (unskilful rider 
that he was !) he had much ado to maintain his seat ; sometimes 
slipping on one side, sometimes on another, and sometimes 
jolted on the high ridge of his horse's back-bone, with a vio- 
lence that he verily feared would cleave him asunder. 

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that 
the church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a 
silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not 
mistaken. He saw the walls of trie church dimly glaring 
under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom 
Bones' ghostly competitor had disappeared. " If I can but reach 
that bridge," thought Ichabod, "I am safe." Just then he 
heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him ; 


he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convul- 
sive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the 
bridge ; he thundered over the resounding planks ; he gained 
the opposite side, and now Ichabod cast a look behind to 
see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash 
of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in 
his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. 
Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too 
late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash 
he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, 
the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirl- 

The next morning the old horse was found without his 
saddle, and witli the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the 
grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appear- 
ance at breakfast dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod. The 
boys assembled at the school-house, and strolled idly about the 
banks of the brook ; but no schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper 
now began to feel some uneasiness about the fate of poor Icha- 
bod, and his saddle. An inquiry was set on foot, and after 
diligent investigation they came upon his traces. In one part 
of the road leading to the church, was found the saddle 
trampled in the dirt ; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented 
in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the 
bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the 
brook, where the water. ran deep and black, was found the hat 
of the unfortunate Ichabod, and cFose beside it a shattered 

The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster 
was not to be discovered. Hans Van Ripper, as executor of 
his estate, examined the bundle which contained all his worldly 
effects. They consisted of two shirts and a half ; two stocks 
for the neck ; a pair or two of worsted stockings ; an old pair 
of corduroy small-clothes ; a rusty razor ; a book of psalm 
tunes full of dog's ears ; and a broken pitch-pipe. As to the 
books and furniture of the school-house, they belonged to the 
community, excepting Cotton Mather's History of Witchcraft, 
a New-England Almanac, and a book of dreams and fortune- 
telling ; in which last was a sheet of foolscap much scribbled 
and blotted, in several fruitless attempts to make a copy of 
verses in honor of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic 
books and the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned to the 
flames by Hans Van Ripper ; who, from that time forward, 
determined to send his children no more to school ; observing 


that he never knew any good come of this same reading and 
writing. Whatever money the schoolmaster possessed, and 
he had received his quarter's pay but a day or two before, he 
must have had about his person at the time of his disappear- 

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the church 
on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers and gossips were 
collected in the churchyard, at the bridge, and at the spot 
where the hat and pumpkin had been found. The stories of 
Brouwer, of Bones, and a whole budget of others, were called 
to mind, and when they had diligently considered them all, and 
compared them with the symptoms of the present case, they 
shook their heads, and came to the conclusion, that Ichabod 
had been carried off by the galloping Hessian. As he was a 
bachelor, and in nobody's debt, nobody troubled his head 
any more about him ; the school was removed to a different 
quarter of the Hollow, and another pedagogue reigned in his 

It is true, an old farmer who had been down to New- York 
on a visit several years after, and from whom this account of 
the ghostly adventure was received, brought home the intelli- 
gence that Ichabod Crane was still alive ; that he had left the 
neighborhood partly through fear of the goblin and Hans Van 
Ripper, and partly in mortification at having been suddenly 
dismissed by the heiress ; that he had changed his quarters to 
a distant part of the country ; had kept school and studied law 
at the same time ; had been admitted to the bar ; turned politi- 
cian ; electioneered ; written for the newspapers ; and finally, 
had been made a Justice of the Ten Pound Court. Brom 
Bones, too, who, shortly after his rival's disappearance, con- 
ducted the blooming Katrina in triumph to the altar, was 
observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of 
Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at 
the mention of the pumpkin ; which led some to suspect that 
he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell. 

The old country wives, however, who are the best judges of 
these matters, maintain to this day, that Ichabod was spirited 
away by supernatural means ; and it is a favorite story often 
told about the neighborhood round the winter evening fire. 
The bridge became more than ever an object of superstitious 
awe ; and that may be the reason why the road has been altered 
of late years, so as to approach the church by the border of 
the mill-pond. The school-house, being deserted, soon fell to 
decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the 


unfortunate pedagogue ; and the plough-boy, loitering home- 
ward of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at 
a distance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tran- 
quil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow. 



THE preceding Tale is given, almost in the precise words in 
which I heard it related at a Corporation meeting of the an- 
cient city of Manhattoes, 1 at which were present many of its 
sagest and most illustrious burghers. The narrator was a 
pleasant, shabby, gentlemanly old fellow in pepper-and-salt 
clothes, with a sadly humorous face ; and one whom I strongly 
suspected of being poor he made such efforts to be entertain- 
ing. When his story was concluded there was much laughter 
and approbation, particularly from two or three deputy alder- 
men, who had been asleep the greater part of the time. There 
was, however, one tall, dry-looking old gentleman, with beetling 
eyebrows, who maintained a grave and rather severe face 
throughout ; now and then folding his arms, inclining his head, 
and looking down upon the floor, as if turning a doubt over in 
his mind. He was one of your wary men, who never laugh but 
upon good grounds when they have reason and the law on 
their side. When the mirth of the rest of the company had 
subsided, and silence was restored, he leaned one arm on the 
elbow of his chair, and sticking the other a-kimbo, demanded, 
with a slight but exceedingly sage motion of the head, and 
contraction of the brow, what was the moral of the story, 
and what it went to prove. 

The story-teller, who was just putting a glass of wine to his 
lips, as a refreshment after his toils, paused for a moment, 
looked at his inquirer with an air of infinite deference, and 
lowering the glass slowly to the table, observed that the story 
was intended most logically to prove : 

" That there is no situation in life but has its advantages 
and pleasures provided we will but take a joke as we find it : 

" That, therefore, he that runs races with goblin troopers, is 
likely to have rough riding of it : 

" Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of 

i New-York. 

V ENVOY. 285 

a Dutch heiress, is a certain step to high preferment in the 

The cautious old gentleman knit his brows tenfold closer after 
this explanation, being sorely puzzled by the ratiocination of 
the syllogism ; while, methought, the one in pepper-and-salt 
eyed him with something of a triumphant leer. At length he 
observed, that all this was very well, but still he thought the 
story a little on the extravagant there were one or two points 
on which he had his doubts : 

" P^aith, sir," replied the story-teller, "as to that matter, I 
don't believe one-half of it myself." 

D. K. 


Go, little booke, God send thee good passage, 
And specially let this be thy prayere, 
Unto them all that thee will read or hear, 
Where thou art wrong, after their help to call, 
Thee to correct, in any part or all. 

CHAUCER'S Belle Dame sans Mercie. 

IN concluding a second volume of the Sketch-Book, the 
Author cannot but express his deep sense of the indulgence 
with which his first has been received, and of the liberal dis- 
position that has been evinced to treat him with kindness as a 
stranger. Even the critics, whatever may be said of them by 
others, he has found to be a singularly gentle and good-natured 
race ; it is true that each has in turn objected to some one or 
two articles, and that these individual exceptions, taken in the 
aggregate, would amount almost to a total condemnation of 
his work ; but then he has been consoled by observing, that 
what one has particularly censured, another has as particu- 
larly praised : and thus, the encomiums being set off against 
the objections, he finds his work, upon the whole, commended 
far beyond its deserts. 

He is aware that he runs a risk of forfeiting much of this 
kind favor by not following the counsel that has been liberally 
bestowed upon him ; for where abundance of valuable advice 
is given gratis, it may seem a man's own fault if he should go 
astray. He can only say, in his vindication, that he faithfully 
determined, for a time, to govern himself in his second volume 

1 Closing the second volume of the London edition. 


by the opinions passed upon his first ; but he was soon brought 
to a stand by the contrariety of excellent counsel. One kindly 
advised him to avoid the ludicrous ; another, to shun the 
pathetic ; a third assured him that he was tolerable at descrip- 
tion, but cautioned him to leave narrative alone ; while a fourth 
declared that he had a very pretty knack at turning a story, 
and was really entertaining when in a pensive mood, but was 
grievously mistaken if he imagined himself to possess a spirit 
of humor. 

Thus perplexed by the advice of his friends, who each in turn 
closed some particular path, but left him all the world beside 
to range in, he found that to follow all their counsels would, in 
fact, be to stand still. He remained for a time sadly embar- 
rassed ; when, all at once, the thought struck him to ramble on 
as he had begun ; that his work being miscellaneous, and writ- 
ten for different humors, it could not be expected that any one 
would be pleased with the whole ; but that if it should contain 
something to suit each reader, his end would be completely 
answered. Few guests sit down to a varied table with an 
equal appetite for every dish. One has an elegant horror of a 
roasted pig ; another holds a curry or a devil in utter abomina- 
tion ; a third cannot tolerate the ancient flavor of venison and 
wild fowl ; and a fourth, of truly masculine stomach, looks 
with sovereign contempt on those knickknacks, here and there 
dished up for the ladies. Thus each article is condemned in 
its turn ; and yet, amidst this variety of appetites, seldom does 
a dish go away from the table without being tasted and relished 
by some one or other of the guests. 

With these considerations he ventures to serve up this second 
volume in the same heterogeneous way with his first ; simply 
requesting the reader, if he should find here and there some- 
thing to please him, to rest assured that it was written expressly 
for intelligent readers like himself, but entreating him, should 
he find any thing to dislike, to tolerate it, as one of those 
articles which the Author has been obliged to write for readers 
of a less refined taste. 

To be serious. The Author is conscious of the numerous 
faults and imperfections of his work ; and well aware how little 
he is disciplined and accomplished in the arts of authorship. 
His deficiencies are also increased by a diffidence arising from 
his peculiar situation. He finds himself writing in a strange 
land, and appearing before a public which he has been accus- 
tomed, from childhood, to regard with the highest feelings of 
awe and reverence. He is full of solicitude to deserve their 

VENVOY. 287 

approbation, yet finds that very solicitude continually embar- 
rassing his powers, and depriving Him of that ease and confi- 
dence which are necessary to successful exertion. Still the 
kindness with which he is treated encourages him to go on, 
hoping that in ti:ne he may acquire a steadier footing ; and 
thus he proceeds, half-venturing, half -shrinking, surprised at 
his own good fortune, and wondering at his own temerity. 


IN a preceding paper I have spoken of an English Sunday in 
the country and its tranquillizing effect upon the landscape ; 
but where is its sacred influence more strikingly apparent 
than i'n the very heart of that great Babel, London ? On this 
sacred day the gigantic monster is charmed into repose. The 
intolerable din and struggle of the week are at an end. 
The shops are shut. The fires of forges and manufactories 
are extinguished, and the sun, no longer obscured by murky 
clouds of smoke, pours down a sober yellow radiance into the 
quiet streets. The few pedestrians we meet, instead of hurry- 
ing forward with anxious countenances, move leisurely along ; 
their brows are smoothed from the wrinkles of business and 
care ; they have put on their Sunday looks and Sunday man- 
ners with their Sunday clothes, and are cleansed in mind as 
well as in person. 

And now the melodious clangor of bells from church-towers 
summons their several flocks to the fold. Forth issues from 
his mansion the family of the decent tradesman, the small 
children in the advance ; then the citizen and his comely 
spouse, followed by the grown-up daughters, with small 
morocco-bound prayer-books laid in the folds of their pocket- 
handkerchiefs. The house-maid looks after them from the 
window, admiring the finery of the family, and receiving, 
perhaps, a nod and smile from her young mistresses, at whose 
toilet she has assisted. 

Now rumbles along the carriage of some magnate of the 
city, peradventure an alderman or a sheriff, and now the patter 
of many feet announces a procession of charity scholars in 
uniforms of antique cut, and each with a prayer-book under 
his arm. 

1 Part of a sketch omitted in the preceding editions. 


The ringing of bells is at an end ; the rumbling of carriages 
has ceased ; the pattering of feet is heard no more ; the flocks 
are folded in ancient churches, cramped up in by-lanes and 
corners of the crowded city, where the vigilant beadle keeps 
watch, like the shepherd's dog, round the threshold of the 
sanctuary. For a time everything is hushed, but soon is heard 
the deep, pervading sound of the organ, rolling and vibrating 
through the empty lanes and courts, and the sweet chanting of 
the choir, making them resound with melody and praise. 
Never have I been more sensible of the sanctifying effect of 
church music than when I have heard it thus poured forth, 
like a river of joy, through the inmost recesses of this great 
metropolis, elevating it, as it were, from all the sordid pollutions 
of the week, and bearing the poor world-worn soul on a tide 
of triumphant harmony to heaven. 

The morning service is at an end. The streets are again 
alive with the congregations returning to their homes, but 
soon again relapse into silence. Now comes on the Sunday 
dinner, which to the city tradesman is a meal of some impor- 
tance. There is more leisure for social enjoyment at the 
board. Members of the family can now gather together who 
are separated by the laborious occupations of the week. A 
schoolboy may be permitted on that day to come to the 
paternal home ; an old friend of the family takes his accus- 
tomed Sunday seat at the board, tells over his well-known 
stories, and rejoices young and old with his well-known jokes. 

On Sunday afternoon the city pours forth its legions to 
breathe the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine of the parks and 
rural environs. Satirists may say what they please about the 
rural enjoyments of a London citizen on Sunday, but to me 
there is something delightful in beholding the poor prisoner 
of the crowded and dusty city enabled thus to come forth 
once a week and throw himself upon the green bosom of 
Nature. He is like a child restored to the mother's breast, 
and they who first spread out these noble parks and magnifi- 
cent pleasure-grounds which surround this huge metropolis 
have done at least as much for its health and morality as if 
they had expended the amount of cost in Hospitals, prisons, 
and penitentiaries. 



I do walk 

Methinks like Guide Vaux, with my dark lanthorn, 
Stealing to set the town o' fire; i' th' country 
I should be taken for William o' the Wisp, 
Or Robin Goodfellow. 


I AM somewhat of an antiquity-hunter, and am fond of ex- 
ploring London in quest of the relics of old times. These 
are principally to be found in the depths of the city, swal- 
lowed up and almost lost in a wilderness of brick and mortar, 
but deriving poetical and romantic interest from the common- 
place, prosaic world around them. I was struck with an in- 
stance of the kind in the course of a recent summer ramble 
into the city ; for the city is only to be explored to advantage 
in summer-time, when free from the smoke and fog and rain 
and mud of winter. I had been buffeting for some time 
against the current of population setting through Fleet Street. 
The warm weather had unstrung my nerves and made me 
sensitive to every jar and jostle and discordant sound. The 
flesh was weary, the spirit faint, and I was getting out of 
humor with the bustling busy throng through which I had to 
struggle, when in a fit of desperation I tore my way through 
the crowd, plunged into a by-lane, and, after passing through 
several obscure nooks and angles, emerged into a quaint and 
quiet court with a grassplot in the centre overhung by elms, 
and kept perpetually fresh and green by a fountain with its 
sparkling jet of water. A student with book in hand was 
seated on a stone bench, partly reading, partly meditating on 
the movements of two or three trim nursery-maids with their 
infant charges. 

I was like an Arab who had suddenly come upon an oasis 
amid the panting sterility of the desert. By degrees the 
quiet and coolness of the place soothed my nerves and re- 
freshed my spirit. I pursued my walk, and came, hard by, to 
a very ancient chapel with a low-browed Saxon portal of 
massive and rich architecture. The interior was circular and 
lofty and lighted from above. Around were monumental 
tombs of ancient date on which were extended the marble 
effigies of warriors in armor. Some had the hands devoutly 
crossed upon the breast ; others grasped the pommel of the 
sword, menacing hostility even in the tomb, while the crossed 


legs of several indicated soldiers of the Faith who had been 
on crusades to the Holy Land. 

I was, in fact, in the chapel of the Knights Templars, 
strangely situated in the very centre of sordid traffic ; and I 
do not know a more impressive lesson for the man of the 
world than thus suddenly to turn aside from the highway of 
busy money-seeking life, and sit down among these shadowy 
sepulchres, where all is twilight, dust, and forgetfulness. 

In a subsequent tour of observation I encountered another 
of these relics of a " foregone world " locked up in the heart 
of the city. I had been wandering for some time through 
dull monotonous streets, destitute of anything to strike the 
eye or excite the imagination, when I beheld before me a 
Gothic gateway of mouldering antiquity. It opened into a 
spacious quadrangle forming the courtyard of a stately Gothic 
pile, the portal of which stood invitingly open. 

It was apparently a public edifice, and, as I was antiquity- 
hunting, I ventured in, though with dubious steps. Meeting 
no one either to oppose or rebuke my intrusion, I continued 
on until I found myself in a great hall with a lofty arched 
roof and oaken gallery, all of Gothic architecture. At one 
end of the hall was an enormous fireplace, with wooden settles 
on each side ; at the other end was a raised platform, or dais, 
the seat of state, above which was the portrait of a man in 
antique garb with a long robe, a ruff, and a venerable gray 

The whole establishment had an air of monastic quiet and 
seclusion, and what gave it a mysterious charm was, that I 
had not met with a human being since I had passed the 

Encouraged by this loneliness, I seated myself in a recess 
of a large bow window, which admitted a broad flood of yel- 
low sunshine, checkered here and there by tints from panes 
of colored glass, while an open casement let in the soft sum- 
mer air. Here, leaning my head on my hand and my arm on 
an old oaken table, I indulged in a sort of reverie about what 
might have been the ancient uses of this edifice. It had evi- 
dently been of monastic origin ; perhaps one of those colle- 
giate establishments built of yore for the promotion of 
learning, where the patient monk, in the ample solitude of the 
cloister, added page to page and volume to volume, emulating 
in the productions of his brain the magnitude of the pile he 

As I was seated in this musing mood a small panelled door 


in an arch at the upper end of the hall was opened, and a 
number of gray-headed old men, clad in long black cloaks, 
came forth one by one, proceeding in that manner through the 
hall, without uttering a word, each turning a pale face on me 
as he passed, and disappearing through a door at the lower 

I was singularly struck with their appearance ; their black 
cloaks and antiquated air comported with the style of this 
most venerable and mysterious pile. It was as if the ghosts 
of the departed years, about which I had been musing, were 
passing in review before me. Pleasing myself with such 
fancies, I set out, in the spirit of romance, to explore what I 
pictured to myself a realm of shadows existing in the very 
centre of substantial realities. 

My ramble led me through a labyrinth of interior courts 
and corridors and dilapidated cloisters, for the main edifice 
had many additions and dependencies, built at various times 
arid in various styles. In one open space a number of boys, 
who evidently belonged to the establishment, were at their 
sports, but everywhere I observed those mysterious old gray 
men in black mantles, sometimes sauntering alone, sometimes 
conversing in groups ; they appeared to be the pervading 
genii of the place. I now called to, mind what I had read of 
certain colleges in old times, where judicial astrology, geo- 
mancy, necromancy, and other forbidden and magical sciences 
were taught. Was this an establishment of the kind, and 
were these black-cloaked old men really professors of the 
black art ? 

These surmises were passing through my mind as my eye 
glanced into a chamber hung round with all kinds of strange 
and uncouth objects implements of savage warfare, strange 
idols, and stuffed alligators ; bottled serpents and monsters 
decorated the mantelpiece ; while on the high tester of an old- 
fashioned bedstead grinned a human skull, flanked on each 
side by a dried cat. 

I approached to regard more narrowly this mystic chamber, 
which seemed a fitting laboratory for a necromancer, when I 
was startled at beholding a human countenance staring at me 
from a dusky corner. It was that of a,, small, shrivelled old 
man with thin cheeks, bright eyes, and gray, wiry, projecting 
eyebrows. I at first doubted whether it were not a mummy 
curiously preserved, but it moved, and I saw that it was alive. 
It was another of these black-cloaked old men, and, as I re- 
garded his quaint physiognomy, his obsolete garb, and the 


hideous and sinister objects by which he was surrounded, I 
began to persuade myself that I had come upon the arch-mago 
who ruled over this magical fraternity. 

Seeing me pausing before the door, he rose and invited me to 
enter. I obeyed with singular hardihood, for how did I know 
whether a wave of his wand might not metamorphose me into 
some strange monster, or conjure me into one of the bottles 
on his mantelpiece ? He proved, however, to be anything but 
a conjurer, and his simple garrulity soon dispelled all the 
magic and mystery with which I had enveloped this anti- 
quated pile and its no less antiquated inhabitants. 

It appeared that I had made my way into the centre of an 
ancient asylum for superannuated tradesmen and decayed 
householders, with which was connected a school for a limited 
number of boys. It was founded upwards of two centuries 
since on an old monastic establishment, and retained somewhat 
of the conventual air and character. The shadowy line of old 
men in black mantles who had passed before me in the hall, 
and whom I had elevated into magi, turned out to be the pen- 
sioners returning from morning service in the chapel. 

John Hallum, the little collector of curiosities whom I had 
made the arch-magician, had been for six years a resident of 
the place, and had decorated this final nestling-place of his old 
age with relics and rarities picked up in the course of his life. 
According to his own account, he had been somewhat of a 
traveller, having been once in France, and very near making a 
visit to Holland. He regretted not having visited the latter 
country, " as then he might have said he had been there." 
He was evidently a traveller of the simple kind. 

He was aristocratical too in his notions, keeping aloof, as I 
found from the ordinary run of pensioners. His chief associates 
were a blind man who spoke Latin and Greek, of both which 
languages Halluin was profoundly ignorant, and a broken- 
do wri gentleman who had run through a fortune of forty thou- 
sand pounds left him by his father, and ten thousand pounds, 
the marriage portion of his wife. Little Hallum seemed to 
consider it an indubitable sign of gentle blood as well as of 
lofty spirit to be able to squander such enormous sums. 

P. S. The picturesque remnant of old times into which I 
have thus beguiled tne reader is what is called the Charter 
House, originally the Chartreuse. It was founded in 1611, on 
the remains of an ancient convent, by Sir Thomas Sutton, being 
one of those noble charities set on foot by individual munifi- 
cence, and kept up with the quaintness and sanctity of 


ancient times amidst the modern changes and innovations of 
London. Here eighty broken-down men, who have seen better 
days, are provided in their old age with food, clothing, fuel, 
and a yearly allowance for private expenses. They dine to- 
gether, as did the monks of old, in the hall which had been 
the refectory of the original convent. Attached to the estab- 
lishment is a school for forty-four boys. 

Stow, whose work I have consulted on the subject, speaking 
of the obligations of the gray -headed pensioners, says, "They 
are not to intermeddle with any business touching the affairs 
of the hospital, but to attend only to the service of God, and 
take thankfully what is provided for them, without muttering, 
murmuring, or grudging. None to wear weapon, long hair, 
colored boots, spurs, or colored shoes, feathers in their hats, 
or any ruffian-like or unseemly apparel, but such as becomes 
hospital-men to wear." "And in truth," adds Stow, "happy* 
are they that are so taken from the cares and sorrows of the 
world, and fixed in so good a place as these old men are ; 
having nothing to care for. but the good of their souls, to serve 
God, and to live in brotherly love." 

For the amusement of such as have been interested by the 
preceding sketch, taken down from my own observation, and 
who may wish to know a little more about the mysteries of 
London, I subjoin a modicum of local history put into my 
hands by an odd-looking old gentleman, in a small brown wig 
and a snuff-colored coat, with whom I . became acquainted 
shortly after my visit to the Charter House. I confess I was 
a little dubious at first whether it was not one of those apoc- 
ryphal tales often passed off upon inquiring travellers like 
myself, and which have brought our general character for 
veracity into such unmerited reproach. On making proper 
inquiries, however, I have received the most satisfactory 
assurances of the author's probity, and indeed have been told 
that he is actually engaged in a full and particular account of 
the very interesting region in which he resides, of which the 
following may be considered merely as a foretaste. 1 

1 This refers to the article entitled " Little Britain." See page 182. 



following are travelling notes from a memorandum-book of Mr. 

The Kaatsberg, or Catskjill Mountains, have always been a region full 
of fable. The Indians considered them the abode of spirits, who in- 
fluenced the weather, spreading sunshine or clouds over the landscape 
and sending good or bad hunting seasons. They were ruled by an old 
squaw spirit, said to be their mother. She dwelt on the highest peak of 
the Catskills, and had charge of the doors of day and night to open and 
shut them at the proper hour. She hung up the new moons in the skies, 
and cut up the old ones into stars. In times of drought, if properly pro- 
pitiated, she would spin light summer clouds out of cobwebs and morning 
dew, and send them off from the crest of the mountain, flake after flake, 
like flakes of carded cotton, to- float in the air; until, dissolved by the 
heat of the sun, they would fall in gentle showers, causing the grass to 
spring, the fruits to ripen, and the corn to grow an inch an hour. If dis- 
pleased, however, she would brew up clouds black as ink, sitting in the 
midst of them like a bottle-bellied spider in the midst of its web; and 
when these clouds broke, woe betide the valleys! 

In old times, say the Indian traditions, there was a kind of Manitou or 
spirit, who kept about the wildest recesses of the Catskill Mountains, and 
took a mischievous pleasure in wreaking all kinds of evils and vexations 
upon the red men. Sometimes he would assume ^the form of a bear, a 
panther, or a deer, lead the bewildered hunter a * weary chase through 
tangled forests and among ragged rocks, and then spring off with a loud 
ho! ho! leaving him aghast on the brink of a beetling precipice or raging 

The favorite abode of this Manitou is still shown. It is a great rock or 
cliff on the loneliest part of the mountains, and, from the flowering vines 
which clamber about it and the wild flowers which abound in its neigh- 
borhood, is known by the name of the Garden Rock. Near the foot of 
it is a small lake, the haunt of the solitary bittern, with water-snakes 
basking in the sun on the leaves of the pond-lilies, which lie on the sur- 
face. This place was held in great awe by the Indians, insomuch that 
the boldest hunter would not pursue his game within its precincts. Once 
upon a time, however, a hunter who had lost his way penetrated to the 
Garden Rock, where he beheld a number of gourds placed in the crotches 
of trees. One of these he seized and made off with it, but in the hurry 
of his retreat he let it fall among the rocks, when a great stream gushed 
forth, which washed him away and swept him down precipices, where he 
was dashed to pieces, and the stream made its way to the Hudson, and 
continues to flow to the present day, being the identical stream known 
by the name of Kaaterskill. 




Toward the end of the sixth century, when Britain, under the domin- 
ion of the Saxons, was in a state of barbarism and idolatry, Pope Gregory 
the Great, struck with the beauty of some Anglo-Saxon youths exposed 
fdr sale in the market-place at Rome, conceived a fancy for the race, and 
determined to send missionaries to preach the gospel among these comely 
but benighted islanders. He was encouraged to this by learning that 
Ethelbert, king of Kent and the most potent of the Anglo-Saxon princes, 
had married Bertha, a Christian princess, only daughter of the king of 
Paris, and that she was allowed by stipulation the full exercise of her 

The shrewd pontiff knew the influence of the sex in matters of religious 
faith. He forthwith despatched Augustine, a Roman monk, with forty 
associates, to the court of Ethelbert at Canterbury, to effect the conver- 
sion of the king and to obtain through him a foothold in the island. 

Ethelbert received them warily, and held a conference in the open air, 
being distrustful of foreign priestcraft and fearful of spells and magic. 
They ultimately succeeded in making him as good a Christian as his wife; 
the conversion of the king of course produced the conversion of his loyal 
subjects. The zeal and success of Augustine were rewarded by his being 
made archbishop of Canterbury, and being endowed with authority over 
all the British churches. 

One of the most prominent converts was Segebert or Sebert, king of the 
East Saxons, a nephew of Ethelbert. He reigned at London, of which 
Mellitus, one of the Roman monks who had come over with Augustine, 
was made bishop. 

Sebert in 605, in his religious zeal, founded a monastery by the river- 
side to the west of the city, on the ruins of a temple of Apollo, being, in 
fact, the origin of the present pile of Westminster Abbey. Great prepa- 
rations were made for the consecration of the church, which was to be 
dedicated to St. Peter. On the morning of the appointed day Mellitus, 
the bishop, proceeded with great pomp and solemnity to perform the 
ceremony. On approaching the edifice he was met by a fisherman, who 
informed him that it was needless to proceed, as the ceremony was over. 
The bishop stared with surprise, when the fisherman went on to relate 
that the night before, as he was in his boat on the Thames, St. Peter 
appeared to him, and told him that he intended to consecrate the church 
himself that very night. The apostle accordingly went into the church, 
which suddenly became illuminated. The ceremony was performed in 
sumptuous style, accompanied by strains of heavenly music and clouds 
of fragrant incense. After this the apostle came into the boat and 
ordered the fisherman to cast his net. He did so, and had a miraculous 
draught of fishes, one of which he was commanded to present to the 
bishop, and to signify to him that the apostle had relieved him from the 
necessity of consecrating the church. 

Mellitus was a wary man, slow of belief, and required confirmation of 
the fisherman's tale. He opened the church doors, and beheld wax 
candles, crosses, holy water, oil sprinkled in various places, and various 
other traces of a grand ceremonial. If he had still any lingering doubts, 
they were completely removed on the fisherman's producing the identical 
fish which he had been ordered by the apostle to present to him. To 
resist this would have been to resist ocular demonstration. The good 
bishop accordingly was convinced that the church had actually been con- 


secrated by St. Peter in person; so he reverently abstained from proceed- 
ing further in the business. 

The foregoing tradition is said to be the reason why King Edward the 
Confessor chose this place as the site of a religious house which he 
meant to endow. He pulled down the old church and built another in 
its place in 1045. In this his remains were deposited in a magnificent 

The sacred edifice again underwent modifications, if not a recon- 
struction, by Henry III. in 1220, and began to assume its present 

Under Henry VIII. it lost its conventual character, that monarch 
turning the monks away and seizing upon the revenues. 


A curious narrative was printed in 1688 by one of the choristers of the 
cathedral, who appears to have been the Paul Pry of the sacred edifice, 
giving an account of his rummaging among the bones of Edward the 
Confessor, after they had quietly reposed in .their sepulchre upwards of 
six hundred years, and of his drawing forth the crucifix and golden chain 
of the deceased monarch. During eighteen years that he had officiated 
in the choir it had been a common tradition, he says, among his brother- 
choristers and the gray-headed servants of the abbey that the body of 
King Edward was deposited in a kind of chest or coffin which was indis- 
tinctly seen in the upper part of the shrine erected to his memory. None 
of the abbey gossips, however, had ventured upon a nearer inspection 
until the worthy narrator, to gratify his curiosity, mounted to the coffin 
by the aid of a ladder, and found it to be made of wood, apparently very 
strong and firm, being secured by bands of iron. 

Subsequently, in 1685, on taking down the scaffolding used in the coro- 
nation of James II., the coffin was found to be broken, a hole appearing 
in the lid, probably made through accident by the workmen. No one 
ventured, however, to meddle with the sacred depository of royal dust 
until, several weeks afterwards, the circumstance came to the knowledge 
of the aforesaid chorister. He forthwith repaired to the abbey in com- 
pany with two friends of congenial tastes, who were desirous of inspect- 
ing the tombs. Procuring a ladder, he again mounted to the coffin, and 
found, as had been represented, a hole in the lia about six inches long 
and four inches broad, just in front of the left breast. Thrusting in his 
hand and groping among the bones, he drew from underneath the 
shoulder a crucifix, richly adorned and enamelled, affixed to a gold chain 
twenty-four inches long. These he showed to his inquisitive friends, 
who were equally surprised with himself. 

" At the time," says he, " when I took the cross and chain out of the 
coffin I drew the head to the hole and mewed it, being very sound and 
firm, with the upper and nether jaws whole and full of teeth, and a list 
of gold above an inch broad, in the nature of a coronet, surrounding the 
temples. There was also in the coffin white linen and gold-colored 
flowered silk, that looked indifferent fresh; but the least stress put there- 
to showed it was wellnigh perished. There were all his bones, and much 
dust likewise, which I left as I found." 


It is difficult to conceive a more grotesque lesson to human pride than 
the skull of Edward the Confessor thus irreverently pulled about in its 
coffin by a prying chorister, and brought to grin face to face with him 
through a hole in the lid. 

Having satisfied his curiosity, the chorister put the crucifix and chain 
back again into the coffin, and sought the dean to apprise him of his dis- 
covery. The dean not being accessible at the time, and fearing that the 
" holy treasure " might be taken away by other hands, he got a brother- 
chorister to accompany him to the shrine about two or three hours after- 
wards, and in his presence again drew forth the relics. These he after- 
wards delivered on his knees to King James. The king subsequently had 
the old coffin enclosed in a new one of great strength, " each plank being 
two inches thick and cramped together with large iron wedges, where it 
now remains (1688) as a testimony of his pious care, that no abuse might 
be offered to the sacred ashes therein reposited." 

As the history of this shrine is full of moral, I subjoin a description of 
it in modern times. "The solitary and forlorn shrine," says a British 
writer, " now stands a mere skeleton of what it was. A few faint traces 
of its sparkling decorations inlaid on solid mortar catches the rays of the 
sun, forever set on its splendor. . . . Only two of the spiral pillars remain. 
The wooden Ionic top is much broken and covered with dust. The mosaic 
is picked away in every part within reach; only the lozenges of about a foot 
square and five circular pieces of the rich marble remain." MALCOLM, 
Lond. rediv. 


Here lyes the Loyal Duke of Newcastle, and his Dutchess his second 
wife, by whom he had no issue. Her name was Margaret Lucas, youngest 
sister to the Lord Lucas of Colchester, a noble family; for all the brothers 
were valiant, and all the sisters virtuous. This Dutchess was a wise, 
witty, and learned lady, which her many Bookes do well testify; she was 
a most virtuous and loving and careful wife, and was with her lord all 
the time of his banishment and miseries, and when he came home, never 
parted from him in his solitary retirements. 

In the winter-time, when the days are short, the service in the after- 
noon is performed by the light of tapers. The effect is fine of the choir 
partially lighted up, while the main body of the cathedral and the tran- 
septs are in profound and cavernous darkness. The white dresses of the 
choristers gleam amidst the deep brown of the oaken slats and canopies; 
the partial illumination makes enormous shadows from columns and 
screens, and, darting into the surrounding gloom, catches here and there 
upon a sepulchral decoration or monumental effigy. The swelling notes 
of the organ accord well with the scene. 

When the service is over the dean is lighted to his dwelling, in the old 
conventual part of the pile, by the boys of the choir, in their white dresses, 
bearing tapers, and the procession passes through the abbey and along 


shadowy cloisters, lighting up angles and arches and grim sepulchral mon- 
uments," and leaving all behind in darkness. 

On entering the cloisters at night from what is called the Dean's Yard, 
the eye, ranging through a dark vaulted passage, catches a distant view 
of a white marble figure reclining on a tomb, on which a strong glare 
thrown by a gas-light has quite a spectral effect. It is a mural monument 
of one of the Pultneys. 

The cloisters are well worth visiting by moonlight when the moon is in 
the full. 


At the time of the first publication of this paper the picture of an old- 
fashioned Christmas in the country was pronounced by some as out of 
date. The author had afterwards an opportunity of witnessing almost 
all the customs above described, existing in unexpected vigor in the skirts 
of Derbyshire and Yorkshire, where he passed the Christmas holidays. 
The reader will find some notice of them in the author's account of his 
sojourn at Newstead Abbey. 


This effigy is in white marble, and represents the Knight in complete 
armor. Near him lies the effigy of his wife, and on her tomb is the fol- 
lowing inscription ; which, if really composed by her husband, places 
him quite above the intellectual level of Master Shallow : 

Here lyeth the Lady Joyce Lucy wife of Sr Thomas Lucy of Charle- 
cot in ye county of Warwick, Knight, Daughter and heir of Thomas 
Acton of Sutton in ye county of Worcester Esquire who departed out 
of this wretched world to her heavenly kingdom ye 10 day of February 
in ye yeare of our Lord God 1595 and of her age 60 and three. All the time 
of her lyfe a true and faythful servant of her good God, never detected 
of any cryme or vice. In religion most sounde, in love to her husband 
most faythful and true. In friendship most constant; to what in trust 
was committed unto her most secret. In wisdom excelling. In govern- 
ing of her house, bringing up of youth in ye fear of God that did con- 
verse with her moste rare and singular. A great maintayner of hospi- 
tality. Greatly esteemed of her betters ; misliked of none unless of the 
envyous. When all is spoken that can be saide a woman so garnished 
with virtue as not to be bettered and hardly to be equalled by any. 
As shee lived most virtuously so shee died most Godly. Set downe by 
him yt best did knowe what hath byn written, to be true. 

Thomas Lucye. 































I WAS born among romantic scenery, in one of the wildest 
parts of the Hudson, which at that time was not so thickly set- 
tled as at present. My father was descended from one of the 
old Huguenot families, that came over to this country on the 
revocation of the edict of Nantz. He lived in a style of easy, 
rural independence, on a patrimonial estate that had been for 
two or three generations in the family. He was an indolent, 
good-natured man, who took the world as it went, and had a 
kind of laughing philosophy, that parried all rubs and mishaps, 
and served him in the place of wisdom. This was the part of 
his character least to my taste ; for I was of an enthusiastic, 
excitable temperament, prone to kindle up with new schemes 
and projects, and he was apt to dash my sallying enthusiasm by 
some unlucky joke ; so that whenever I was in a glow with any 
sudden excitement, I stood in mortal dread of his good-humor. 

Yet he indulged me in every vagary ; for I was an only son, 
and of course a personage of importance in the household. I 
had two sisters older than myself, and one younger. The former 
were educated at New York, under the eye of a maiden aunt ; 
the latter remained at home, and was my cherished playmate, 
the companion of my thoughts. We were two imaginative little 
beings, of quick susceptibility, and prone to see wonders and 
mysteries in everything around us. Scarce had we learned to 
read, when our mother made us holiday presents of all the 
nursery literature of the day ; which at that time consisted of 



little books covered with gilt paper, adorned with " cuts," and 
filled with tales of fairies, giants, and enchanters. What 
draughts of delightful fiction did we then inhale ! My sister 
Sophy was of a soft and tender nature. She would weep over 
the woes of the Children in the Wood, or quake at the dark 
romance of Blue-Beard, and the terrible mysteries of the blue 
chamber. But I was all for enterprise and adventure. I burned 
to emulate the deeds of that heroic .prince who delivered the 
white cat from her enchantment ; or he of no less royal blood> 
and doughty emprise, who broke the charmed slumber of the 
Beauty in the Wood ! 

The house in which we lived was just the kind of place to 
foster such propensities. It was a venerable mansion, half villa, 
half farmhouse. The oldest part was of stone, with loop-holes 
for musketry, having served as a family fortress in the time of 
the Indians. To this there had been made various additions, 
some of brick, some of wood, according to the exigencies of 
the moment ; so that it was full of nooks and crooks, and cham- 
bers of all sorts and sizes. It was buried among willows, elms, 
and cherry trees, and surrounded with roses and hollyhocks, with 
honeysuckle and sweet-brier clambering about every window. A 
brood of hereditary pigeons sunned themselves upon the roof ; 
hereditary swallows and martins built about the eaves and chim- 
neys ; and hereditary bees hummed about the flower-beds. 

Under the influence of our story-books every object around 
us now assumed a new character, and a charmed interest. The 
wild flowers were no longer the mere ornaments of the fields, or 
the resorts of the toilful bee ; they were the lurking places of 
fairies. We would watch the humming-bird, as it hovered 
around the trumpet creeper at our porch, and the butterfly as it 
flitted up into the blue air, above the sunny tree tops, and fancy 
them some of the tiny beings from fairyland. I would call to 
mind all that I had read of Robin Goodfellow and his power of 
transformation. Oh, how I envied him that power ! How I 
longed to be able to compress my form into utter littleness.; to 
ride the bold dragon-fly ; swing on the tall bearded grass ; follow 
the ant into his subterraneous habitation, or dive into the caver- 
nous depths of the honeysuckle ! 

While I was yet a mere child I was sent to a daily school, 
about two miles distant. The schoolhouse was on the edge of 
a wood, close by a brook overhung with birches, alders, and 
dwarf willows. We of the school who lived at some distance 
came with our dinners put up in little baskets. In the intervals 
of school hours we would gather round a spring, under a tuft 


of hazel-bushes, and have a kind of picnic ; interchanging the 
rustic dainties with which our provident mothers had fitted us 
out. Then when our joyous repast was over, and my compan- 
ions were disposed for play, I would draw forth one of my cher- 
ished story-books, stretch myself on the greensward, and soon 
lose myself in its bewitching contents. 

I became an oracle among my schoolmates on account of my 
superior erudition, and soon imparted to them the contagion of 
my infected fancy. Often in the evening, after school hours, 
we would sit on the trunk of some fallen tree in the woods, and 
vie with each other in telling extravagant stories, until the whip- 
poor-will began his nightly moaning, and the fire-Hies sparkled 
in the gloom. Then came the perilous journey homeward. 
What delight we would take in getting up wanton panics in some 
dusky part of the wood ; scampering like frightened deer ; paus- 
ing to take breath ; renewing the panic, and scampering off 
again, wild with fictitious terror ! 

Our greatest trial was to pass a dark, lonely pool, covered 
with pond-lilies, peopled with bull- frogs and water snakes, and 
haunted by two white cranes. Oh ! the terrors of that pond ! 
How our little hearts would beat as we approached it ; what 
fearful glances we would throw around ! And if by chance a 
plash of a wild duck, or the guttural twang of a bull-frog, 
struck our ears, as we stole quietly by away we sped, nor 
paused until completely out of the woods. Then, when I reached 
home, what a world of adventures and imaginary terrors would 
I have to relate to my sister Sophy ! 

As I advanced in years, this turn of mind increased upon me, 
and became more confirmed. I abandoned myself to the im- 
pulses of a romantic imagination, which controlled my studies, 
and gave a bias to all my habits. My father observed me con- 
tinually with a book in my hand, and satisfied himself that I 
was a profound student ; but what were my studies ? Works of 
fiction ; tales of chivalry ; voyages of discovery ; travels in the 
East ; everything, in short, that partook of adventure and 
romance. I well remember with what zest I entered upon that 
part of my studies which treated of the heathen mythology, and 
particularly of the sylvan deities. Then indeed my school books 
became dear to me. The neighborhood was well calculated to 
foster the reveries of a mind like mine. It abounded with soli- 
tary retreats, wild streams, solemn forests, and silent valleys. 
I would ramble about for a whole day with a volume of Ovid's 
Metamorphoses in my pocket, and work myself into a kind of 
self-delusion, so as to identify the surrounding scenes with those 


of which I had just been reading. I would loiter about a brook 
that glided through the shadowy depths of the forest, picturing 
it to" myself the haunt of Naiads. I would steal round some 
bushy copse that opened upon a glade, as if I expected to come 
suddenly upon Diana and her nymphs, or to behold Pan and his 
satyrs bounding, with whoop and halloo, through the woodland. 
I would throw myself, during the panting heats of a summer 
noon, under the shade of some wide-spreading tree, and muse 
and dream away the hours, in a state of mental intoxication. I 
drank in the very light of day, as nectar, and my soul seemed 
to bathe with ecstasy in the deep blue of a summer sky. 

In these wanderings, nothing occurred to jar my feelings, or 
bring me back to the realities of life. There is a repose in our 
mighty forests that gives full scope to the imagination. Now 
and then I would hear the distant sound of the wood-cutter's 
axe, or the crash of some tree which he had laid low ; but these 
noises, echoing along the quiet landscape, could easily be wrought 
by fancy into harmony with its illusions. In general, however, 
the woody recesses of the neighborhood were peculiarly wild and 
unfrequented. I could ramble for a whole day, without coming 
upon any traces of cultivation. The partridge of the wood 
scarcely seemed to shun my path, and the squirrel, from his nut- 
tree, would gaze at me for an instant, with sparkling eye, as if 
wondering at the unwonted intrusion. 

I cannot help dwelling on this delicious period of my life ; 
when as yet I had known no sorrow, nor experienced any world- 
ly care. I have since studied much, both of books and men, 
and of course have grown too wise to be so easily pleased ; yet 
with all my wisdom, I must confess I look back with a secret 
feeling of regret to the days of happy ignorance, before I had 
begun to be a philosopher. 

It must be evident that I was in a hopeful training for one 
who was to descend into the arena of life, and wrestle with the 
world. The tutor, also, who superintended my studies in the 
more advanced stage of my education was just fitted to complete 
the fata morgana which was forming in my mind. His name 
was Glencoe. He was a pale, melancholy-looking man, about 
forty years of age ; a native of Scotland, liberally educated, 
and who had devoted himself to the instruction of youth from 
taste rather than necessity ; for, as he said, he loved the human 
heart, and delighted to study it in its earlier impulses. My two 
elder sisters, having returned home from a city boarding-school, 


were likewise placed under his care, to direct their reading in 
history and belles-lettres. 

We all soon became attached to Glencoe. It is true, we were 
at first somewhat prepossessed against him. His meagre, pallid 
countenance, his broad pronunciation, his inattention to the little 
forms of society, and an awkward and embarrassed manner, on 
first acquaintance, were much against him ; but we soon discov- 
ered that under this unpromising exterior existed the kindest 
urbanity of temper ; the warmest sympathies ; the most enthu- 
siastic benev61ence. His mind was ingenious and acute. His 
reading had been various, but more abstruse than profound ; his 
memory was stored, on all subjects, with facts, theories, and 
quotations, and crowded with crude materials for thinking. 
These, in a moment of excitement, would be, as it were, melted 
down, and poured forth in the lava of a heated imagination. At 
such moments, the change in the whole man was wonderful. His 
meagre form would acquire a dignity and grace ; his long, pale 
visage wo'uld flash with a hectic glow ; his eyes would beam with 
intense speculation ; and there would be pathetic tones and deep 
modulations in his voice, that delighted the ear, and spoke mov- 
ingly to the heart. 

But what most endeared him to us was the kindness and sym- 
pathy with which he entered into all our interests and wishes. 
Instead of curbing and checking our young imaginations with 
the reins of sober reason, he was a little too apt to catch the 
impulse and be hurried away with us. He could not withstand 
the excitement of any sally of feeling or fancy, and was prone 
to lend heightening tints to the illusive coloring of youthful 

Under his guidance my sisters and myself soon entered upon 
a more extended range of studies ; but while they wandered, 
with delighted minds, through the wide field of history and 
belles-lettres, a nobler walk was opened to my superior intel- 

The mind of Glencoe presented a singular mixture of philoso- 
phy and poetry. He was fond of metaphysics and prone to 
indulge in abstract speculations, though his metaphysics were 
somewhat fine spun and fanciful, and his speculations were apt 
to partake of what my father most irreverently termed " hum- 
bug." For my part, I delighted in them, and the more espe- 
cially because they set my father to sleep and completely con- 
founded my sisters. I entered with my accustomed eagerness 
into this new branch of study. Metaphysics were now my 
passion. My sisters attempted to accompany me, but they soon 


faltered, and gave out before they had got half way through 
Smith's Theory of the Moral Sentiments. I, however, went on, 
exulting in my strength. Glencoe supplied me with books, and 
I devoured them with appetite, if not digestion. We walked 
and talked together under the trees before the house, or sat 
apart, like Milton's angels, and held high converse upon themes 
beyond the grasp of ordinary intellects. Glencoe possessed a 
kind of philosophic chivalry, in imitation of the old peripatetic 
sages, and was continually dreaming of romantic enterprises in 
morals, and splendid systems for the improvement of society. 
He had a fanciful mode of illustrating abstract subjects, pecul- 
iarly to my taste ; clothing them with the language of poetry, 
and throwing round them almost the magic hues of fiction. 
"How charming," thought I, "is divine philosophy;" not 
harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, 

" But a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, 
Where no crude surfeit reigns." 

I felt a wonderful self-complacency at being on such excel- 
lent terms with a man whom I considered on a parallel with the 
sages of antiquity, and looked down with a sentiment of pity on 
the feebler intellects of my sisters, who could comprehend noth- 
ing of metaphysics. It is true, when I attempted to study them 
by myself, I was apt to get in a fog ; but when Glencoe came 
to my aid, every thing was soon as clear to me as day. My ear 
drank in the beauty of his words ; my imagination was dazzled 
with the splendor of his illustrations. It caught up the spar- 
kling sands of poetry that glittered through his speculations, and 
mistook them for the golden ore of wisdom. Struck with the 
facility with which I seemed to imbibe and relish the most 
abstract doctrines, I conceived a still higher opinion of my 
mental powers, and was convinced that I also was a philosopher, 

I was now verging toward man's estate, and though my edu- 
cation had been extremely irregular following the caprices of 
my humor, which I mistook for the impulses of my genius 
yet I was regarded with wonder and delight by my mother and 
sisters, who considered me almost as wise and infallible as I 
consider myself. This high opinion of me was strengthened 
by a declamatory habit, which made me an oracle and orator at 
the domestic board. The time was now at hand, however, that 
was to put my philosophy to the test. 

We had passed through a long winter, and the spring at length 
opened upon us with unusual sweetness. The soft serenity of 


the weather ; the beauty of the surrounding country ; the joyous 
notes of the birds ; the balmy breath of flower and blossom, all 
combined to fill my bosom with indistinct sensations, and name- 
less wishes. Amid the soft seductions of the season, I lapsed 
into a state of utter indolence, both of body and mind. 

Philosophy had lost its charms for me. Metaphysics faugh ! 
I tried to study ; took down volume after volume, ran my eye 
vacantly over a few pages, and threw them by with distaste. I 
loitered about the house, with my hands in my pockets, and an 
air of complete vacancy. Something was necessary to make me 
happy ; but what was that something ? I sauntered to the apart- 
ments of my sisters, hoping their conversation might amuse me. 
They had walked out, and the room was vacant. On the table 
lay a volume which they had been reading. It was a novel. I had 
never read a novel, having conceived a contempt for works of 
the kind, from hearing them universally condemned. It is true, 
I had remarked they were universally read ; but I considered 
them beneath the attention of a philosopher, and never would 
venture to read them, lest I should lessen my mental superi- 
ority in the eyes of my sisters. Nay, I had taken up a 
work of the kind now and then, when I knew my sisters were 
observing me, looked into it for a moment, and then laid it 
down, with a slight supercilious smile. On the present occasion, 
out of mere listlessness, I took up the volume and turned over 
a few of the first pages. I thought I heard some one coming, 
and laid it down. 1 was mistaken ; no one was near, and what 
I had read, tempted my curiosity to read a little further. I 
leaned against a window-frame, and in a few minutes was com- 
pletely lost in the story. How long I stood there reading I know 
not, but I believe for nearly two hours. Suddenly I heard my 
sisters on the stairs, when I thrust the book into my bosom, and 
the two other volumes which lay near into my pockets, and 
hurried out of the house to my beloved woods. Here I remained 
all day beneath the trees, bewildered, bewitched, devouring the 
contents of these delicious volumes, and only returned to the 
house when it was too dark to peruse their pages. 

This novel finished, I replaced it in my sisters' apartment, and 
looked for others. Their stock was ample, for they had brought 
home all that were current in the city ; but my appetite demand- 
ed an immense supply. All this course of reading was carried 
on clandestinely, for I was a little ashamed of it, and fearful 
that my wisdom might be called in question ; but this very pri- 
vacy gave it additional zest. It was " bread eaten in secret ; " 
it had the charm of a private amour. 


But think what must have been the effect of such a course of 
reading on a youth of my temperament and turn of mind ; in- 
dulged, too, amid romantic scenery and in the romantic season 
of the year. It seemed as if I had entered upon a new scene 
of existence. A train of combustible feelings were lighted up 
in me, and my soul was all tenderness and passion. Never was 
youth more completely love-sick, though as yet it was a mere 
general sentiment, and wanted a definite object. Unfortunately, 
our neighborhood was particularly deficient in female society, 
and I languished in vain for some divinity to whom I might offer 
up this most uneasy burden of affections. I was at one time 
seriously enamoured of a lady whom I saw occasionally in my 
rides, reading at the window of a country-seat; and actually 
serenaded her with my flute ; when, to my confusion, I discov- 
ered that she was old enough to be my mother. It was a sad 
damper to my romance ; especially as my father heard of it, and 
made it the subject of one of those household jokes which he 
was apt to serve up at every meal-time. 

I soon recovered from this check, however, but it was only to 
relapse into a state of amorous excitement. I passed whole 
days in the fields, and along the brooks ; for there is something 
in the tender passion that makes us alive to the beauties of 
nature. A soft sunshiny morning infused a sort of rapture into 
my breast. I flung open my arms, like the Grecian youth in 
Ovid, as if I would take in and embrace the balmy atmosphere. 1 
The song of the birds melted me to tenderness. I would lie by 
the side of some rivulet for hours, and form garlands of the 
flowers on its banks, and muse on ideal beauties, and sigh from 
the crowd of undefined emotions that swelled my bosom. 

In this state of amorous delirium, I was strolling one morn- 
ing along a beautiful wild brook, which I had discovered in a 
glen. There was one place where a small waterfall, leaping 
from among rocks into a natural basin, made a scene such as a 
poet might have chosen as the haunt of some shy Naiad. It 
was here I usually retired to banquet on my novels. In visiting 
the place this morning I traced distinctly, on the margin of the 
basin, which was of fine clear sand, the prints of a female foot 
of the most slender and delicate proportions. This was suffi- 
cient for an imagination like mine. Robinson Crusoe himself, 
when he discovered the print of a savage foot on the beach of 
his lonely island, could not have been more suddenly assailed 
with thick-coming fancies. 

1 Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book VII. 



I endeavored to track the steps, but they only passed for a 
few paces along the fine sand, and then were lost among the 
herbage. I remained gazing in revery upon this passing trace 
of loveliness. It evidently was not made by any of my sisters, 
for they knew nothing of this haunt ; beside, the foot was 
smaller than theirs ; it was remarkable for its beautiful deli- 

My eye accidentally caught two or three half -withered wild 
flowers lying on the ground. The unknown nymph had 
doubtless dropped them from her bosom ! Here was a new 
document of taste and sentiment. I treasured them up as 
invaluable relics. The place, too, where I found them, was 
remarkably picturesque, and the most beautiful part of the 
brook. It was overhung with a fine elm, intwined with grape- 
vines. She who could select such a spot, who could delight in 
wild brooks, and wild flowers, and silent solitudes, must have 
fancy, and feeling, and tenderness ; and with all these qualities, 
she must be beautiful ! 

But who could be this Unknown, that had thus passed by, as 
in a morning dream, leaving merely flowers and fairy footsteps 
to tell of her loveliness ? There was a mystery in it that be- 
wildered me. It was so vague and disembodied, like those 
" airy tongues that syllable men's names " in solitude. Every 
attempt to solve the mystery was vain. I could hear of no 
being in the neighborhood to whom this trace could be ascribed. 
I haunted the spot, and became daily more and more enamoured. 
Never, surely, was passion more pure and spiritual, and never 
lover in more dubious situation. My case could be compared 
only to that of the amorous prince in the fairy tale of Cinder- 
ella ; but he had a glass slipper on which to lavish his tender- 
ness. I, alas ! was in love with a footstep ! 

The imagination is alternately a cheat and a dupe ; nay, 
more, it is the most subtle of cheats, for it cheats itself and 
becomes the dupe of its own delusions. It conjures up " airy 
nothings," gives to them a " local habitation and a name," and 
then bows to their control as implicitly as though they were 
realities. Such was now my case. The good Numa could not 
more thoroughly have persuaded himself that the nymph 
Egeria hovered about her sacred fountain and communed with 
him in spirit, than I had deceived myself into a kind of vision- 
ary intercourse with the airy phantom fabricated in my brain. 


I constructed a rustic seat at the foot of the tree where I had 
discovered the footsteps. I made a kind of bower ther,e, where 
I used to pass my mornings reading poetry and romances. I 
carved hearts and darts on the tree, and hung it with garlands. 
My heart was full to overflowing, and wanted some faithful 
bosom into which it might relieve itself. What is a lover 
without a confidante ? I thought at once of my sister Sophy, 
my early playmate, the sister of my affections. She was so 
reasonable, too, and of such correct feelings, always listening 
to my words as oracular sayings, and admiring my scraps of 
poetry as the very inspirations of the muse. From such a de- 
voted, such a rational being, what secrets could I have? 

I accordingly took her one morning to my favorite retreat. 
She looked around, with delighted surprise, upon the rustic 
seat, the bower, the tree carved with emblems of the tender 
passion. She turned her eyes upon me to inquire the mean- 

" Oh, Sophy," exclaimed I, clasping both her hands in mine, 
and looking earnestly in her face, " I am in love." 

She started with surprise. 

44 Sit down," said I, 44 and I will tell you all." 

She seated herself upon the rustic bench, and I went into a 
full history of the footstep, with all the associations of idea 
that had been conjured up by my imagination. 

Sophy was enchanted ; it was like a fairy tale ; she had read 
of such mysterious visitations in books, and the loves thus con- 
ceived were always for beings of superior order, and were 
always happy. She caught the illusion in all its force ; her 
cheek glowed ; her eye brightened. 

44 1 dare say she's pretty," said Sophy. 

44 Pretty ! " echoed I, " she is beautiful ! " I went through 
all the reasoning by which I had logically proved the fact to my 
own satisfaction. I dwelt upon the evidences of her taste, her 
sensibility to the beauties of nature ; her soft meditative habit, 
that delighted in solitude. 4 'Oh," said I, clasping my hands, 
6 ' to have such a companion to wander through these scenes ; 
to sit with her by this murmuring stream ; to wreathe garlands 
round her brows ; to hear the music of her voice mingling with 
the whisperings of these groves ; " 

"Delightful! delightful!" cried Sophy; "what a swe'et 
creature she must be ! She is just the friend I want. How 
I shall dote upon her ! Oh, my dear brother ! you must not 
keep her all to yourself. You must let me have some share of 


I caught her to my bosom : " You shall you shall ! " cried 
I, " my dear Sophy ; we will all live for each other ! " 

The conversation with Sophy heightened the illusions of my 
mind ; and the manner in which she had treated my day-dream 
identified it with facts and persons and gave it still more the 
stamp of reality. I walked about as one in a trance, heedless 
of the world around, and lapped in an elysium of the fancy. 

In this mood I met one morning with Glencoe. He accosted 
me with his usual smile, and was proceeding with some general 
observations, but paused and fixed on me an inquiring eye. 

"What is the matter with you?" said he, "you seem agi- 
tated ; has anything in particular happened? " 

" Nothing," said I, hesitating ; " at least nothing worth com- 
municating to you." 

'"Nay, my dear young friend," said he, "whatever is of 
sufficient importance to agitate you is worthy of being com- 
municated to me." 

"Well; but my thoughts are running on what you would 
think a frivolous subject." 

" No subject is frivolous that has the power to awaken strong 

"What think you," said I, hesitating, "what think you of 

Glencoe almost started at the question. "Do you call that 
a frivolous subject?" replied he. "Believe me, there is none 
fraught with such deep, such vital interest. If you talk, 
indeed, of the capricious inclination awakened by the mere 
charm of perishable beauty, I grant it to be idle in the extreme ; 
but that love which springs from the concordant sympathies of 
virtuous hearts ; that love which is awakened by the perception 
of moral excellence, and fed by meditation on intellectual as 
well as personal beauty ; that is a passion which refines and en- 
nobles the human heart. Oh, where is there a sight more nearly 
approaching to the intercourse of angels, than that of two 
young beings, free from the sins and follies of the world, min- 
gling pure thoughts, and looks, and feelings, and becoming as it 
were soul of one soul and heart of one heart ! How exquisite 
the silent converse that they hold ; the soft devotion of the eye, 
that needs no words to make it eloquent ! Yes, my friend, if 
there be any thing in this weary world worthy of heaven, it is 
the pure bliss of such a mutual affection ! " 


The words of my worthy tutor overcame all further reserve. 
" Mr. Glencoe," cried I, blushing still deeper, "I am in love." 

" And is that what you were ashamed to tell me? Oh, never 
seek to conceal from your friend so important a secret. If your 
passion be unworthy, it is for the steady hand of friendship 
to pluck it forth ; if honorable, none but an enemy would seek to 
stifle it. On nothing does the character and happiness so much 
depend as on the first affection of the heart. Were you caught 
by some fleeting and superficial charm a bright eye, a bloom- 
ing cheek, a soft voice, or a voluptuous form I would warn 
you to beware ; I would tell you that beauty is but a passing 
gleam of the morning, a perishable flower ; that accident may 
becloud and blight it, and that at best it must soon pass away. 
But were you in love with such a one as I could describe ; young 
in years, but still younger in feelings ; lovely in person, but as 
a type of the mind's beauty ; soft in voice, in token of gentle- 
ness of spirit ; blooming in countenance, like the rosy tints of 
morning kindling with the promise of a genial day ; an eye 
beaming with the benignity of a happy heart ; a cheerful temper, 
alive to all kind impulses, and frankly diffusing its own felicity ; 
a self -poised mind, that needs not lean on others for support ; 
an elegant taste, that can embellish solitude, and furnish out its 
own enjoyments ' ' 

"My dear sir," cried I, for I could contain myself no 
longer, " you have described the very person ! " 

"Why, then, my dear young friend," said he, affectionately 
pressing my hand, " in God's name, love on ! " 

For the remainder of the day I was in some such state of 
dreamy beatitude as a Turk is said to enjoy when under the 
influence of opium. It must be already manifest how prone I 
was to bewilder myself with picturings of the fancy, so as to 
confound them with existing realities. In the present instance, 
Sophy and Glencoe had contributed to promote the transient 
delusion. Sophy, dear girl, had as usual joined with me in my 
castle-building, and indulged in the same train of imaginings, 
while Glencoe, duped by my enthusiasm, firmly believed that I 
spoke of a being I had seen and known. By their sympathy 
with my feelings they in a manner became associated with the 
Unknown in my mind, and thus linked her with the circle of my 

In the evening, our family party was assembled in the hall, to 


enjoy the refreshing breeze. Sophy was playing some favorite 
Scotch airs on the piano, while Glencoe, seated apart, with his 
forehead resting on his hand, was buried in one of those pensive 
reveries that made him so interesting to me. 

" What a fortunate being I am ! " thought I, " blessed with 
such a sister and such a friend ! I have only to find out this 
amiable Unknown, to wed her, and be happy ! What a paradise 
will be my home, graced with a partner of such exquisite refine- 
ment ! It will be a perfect fairy bower, buried among sweets 
and roses. Sophy shall live with us, and be the companion of 
all our enjoyments. Glencoe, too, shall no more be the solitary 
being that he now appears. He shall have a home with us. He 
shall have his study, where, when he pleases, he may shut him- 
self up from the world, and bury himself in his own reflections. 
His retreat shall be sacred ; no one shall intrude there ; no one 
but myself, who will visit him now and then, in his seclusion, 
where we will devise grand schemes together for the improve- 
ment of mankind. How delightfully our days will pass, in a 
round of rational pleasures and elegant employments ! Some- 
times we will have music ; sometimes we will read ; sometimes 
we will wander through the flower garden, when I will smile with 
complacency on every flower my wife has planted ; while in the 
long winter evenings the ladies will sit at their work, and listen 
with hushed attention to Glencoe and myself, as we discuss the 
abstruse doctrines of metaphysics." 

From this delectable revery, I was startled by my father's 
slapping me on the shoulder : " What possesses the lad ? " cried 
he ; " here have I been speaking to you half a dozen tfmes, with- 
out receiving an answer." 

"Pardon me, sir," replied I; "I was so completely lost in 
thought, that I did not hear you." 

"Lost in thought! And pray what were you thinking of? 
Some of your philosophy, I suppose." 

"Upon my word," said my sister Charlotte, with an arch 
laugh, " I suspect Harry's in love again." 

"And if I were in love, Charlotte," said I, somewhat net- 
tled, and recollecting Glencoe's enthusiastic eulogy of the pas- 
sion, " if I were in love, is that a matter of jest and laughter? 
Is the tenderest and most fervid affection that can animate the 
human breast, to be made a matter of cold-hearted ridicule?" 

My sister colored. "Certainly not, brother ! nor did I mean 
to make it so, nor to pny anything that should wound youi feel- 
ings. Had I really suspected you had formed some genuine 
attachment, it would have been sacred in my eyes ; but but," 


said she, smiling, as if at some, whimsical recollection, " I thought 
that you you might be indulging in another little freak of the 

"I'll wager any money," cried my father, " he has fallen in 
love again with some old lady at a window ! ' ' 

" Oh no ! " cried my dear sister Sophy, with the most gracious 
warmth ; " she is young and beautiful." 

"From what I understand," said Glencoe, rousing himself, 
" she must be lovely in mind as in person." 

I found my friends were getting me into a fine scrape. I began 
to perspire at every pore, and felt my ears tingle. 

"Well, but," cried my father, "who is she? what is she? 
Let us hear something about her." 

This was no time to explain so delicate a matter. I caught 
up my hat, and vanished out of the house. 

The moment I was in the open air, and alone, my heart up- 
braided me. Was this respectful treatment to my" father to 
such a father, too who had always regarded me as the pride 
of his age the staff of his hopes? It is true, he was apt some- 
times to laugh at my enthusiastic flights, and did not treat my 
philosophy with due respect ; but when had he ever thwarted a 
wish of my heart? Was I then to act with reserve toward him, 
in a matter which might affect the whole current of my future 
life? " I have done wrong," thought I ; " but it is not too late 
to remedy it. I will hasten back and open my whole heart to 
my father ! ' ' 

I returned accordingly, and was just on the point of entering 
the house/with my heart full of filial piety, and a contrite speech 
upon my lips, when I heard a burst of obstreperous laughter 
from my father, and a loud titter from my two elder sisters. 

" A footstep ! " shouted he, as soon as he could recover him- 
self ; "in love with a footstep! Why, this beats the old lady 
at the window ! " And then there was another appalling burst 
of laughter. Had it been a clap of thunder, it could hardly have 
astounded me more completely. Sophy, in the simplicity of her 
heart, had told all, and had set my father's risible propensities 
in full action. 

Never was poor mortal so thoroughly crestfallen as myself. 
The whole delusion was at an end. I drew off silently from the 
house, shrinking smaller and smaller at every fresh peal of 
laughter ; and wandering about until the family had retired, 
stole quietly to my bed. Scarce any sleep, however, visited my 
eyes that night ! I lay overwhelmed with mortification, and 
meditating how I might meet the family in the morning. The 


idea of ridicule was always intolerable to me ; but to endure it 
on a subject by which my feelings had been so much excited, 
seemed worse than death. I almost determined, at one time, to 
get up, saddle my horse, and ride off, I knew not whither. 

At length I came to a resolution. Before going down to break- 
fast, I sent for Sophy, and employed her as ambassador to treat 
formally in the matter. I insisted that the subject should be 
buried in oblivion ; otherwise I would not show my face at table. 
It was readily agreed to ; for not one of the family would have 
given me pain for the world. They faithfully kept their promise. 
Not a word was said of the matter ; but there were wry faces, 
and suppressed titters, that went to my soul ; and whenever my 
father looked me in the face, it was with such a tragic-comical 
leer such an attempt to pull down a serious brow upon a 
whimsical mouth that I had a thousand times rather he had 
laughed outright. 

For a day or two after the mortifying occurrence just related, 
I kept as much as possible out of the way of the family, and 
wandered about the fields and woods by myself. I was sadly 
out of tune ; my feelings were all jarred and unstrung. The 
birds sang from every grove, but I took no pleasure in their 
melody ; and the flowers of the field bloomed unheeded around 
me. To be crossed in love, is bad enough ; but then one can 
fly to poetry for relief, and turn one's woes to account in soul- 
subduing stanzas. But to have one's whole passion, object and 
all, annihilated, dispelled, proved to be such stuff as dreams are 
made of or, worse than all, to be turned into a proverb and a 
jest what consolation is there in such a case ? 

I avoided the fatal brook where I had seen the footstep. My 
favorite resort was now the banks of the Hudson, where I sat 
upon the rocks and mused upon the current that dimpled by, or 
the waves that laved the shore ; or watched the bright mutations 
of the clouds, and the shifting lights and shadows of the distant 
mountain. By degrees a returning serenity stole over my feel- 
ings ; and a sigh now and then, gentle and easy, and unattended 
by pain, showed that my heart was recovering its susceptibility. 

As I was sitting in this musing mood my eye became gradually 
fixed upon an object that was borne along by the'tide. It proved 
to be a little pinnace, beautifully modelled, and gayly painted 
and decorated. It was an unusual sight in this neighborhood, 
which was rather lonely ; indeed, it was rare to see any pleas- 
ure-barks in this part of the river. As it drew nearer, I per- 


ceived that there was no one on board ; it had apparently drifted 
from its anchorage. There was not a breath of air ; the little 
bark came floating along on the glassy stream, wheeling about 
with the eddies. At length it ran aground, almost at the foot 
of the rock on which I was seated. I descended to the margin 
of the river, and drawing the bark to shore, admired its light 
and elegant proportions and the taste with which it was fitted 
up. The benches were covered with cushions, and its long 
streamer was of silk. On one of the cushions lay a lady's glove, 
of delicate size and shape, with beautifully tapered fingers. I 
instantly seized it and thrust it in my bosom ; it seemed a match 
for the fairy footstep that had so fascinated me. 

In a moment all the romance of my bosom was again in a 
glow. Here was one of the very incidents of fairy tale ; a bark 
sent by some invisible power, some good genius, or benevolent 
fairy, to waft me to some delectable adventure. I recollected 
something of an enchanted bark, drawn by white swans, that 
conveyed a knight down the current of the Rhine, on some 
enterprise connected with love and beauty. The glove, too, 
showed that there was a lady fair concerned in the present 
adventure. It might be a gauntlet of defiance, to dare me to 
the enterprise. 

In the spirit of romance and the whim of the moment, I 
sprang on board, hoisted the light sail, and pushed from shore. 
As if breathed by some presiding power, a light breeze at that 
moment sprang up, swelled out the sail, and dallied with the 
silken streamer. For a time I glided along under steep umbra- 
geous banks, or across deep sequestered bays ; and then stood 
out over a wide expansion of the river toward a high rocky 
promontory. It was a lovely evening ; the sun was setting in 
a congregation of clouds that threw the whole heavens in a glow, 
and were reflected in the river. I delighted myself with all 
kinds of fantastic fancies, as to what enchanted island, or mystic 
bower, or necromantic palace, I was to be conveyed by the 
fairy bark. 

In the revel of my fancy I had not noticed that the gorgeous 
congregation of clouds which had so much delighted me was in 
fact a gathering thunder-gust. I perceived the truth too late. 
The clouds came hurrying on, darkening as they advanced. 
The whole face of nature was suddenly changed, and assumed 
that baleful and livid tint predictive of a storm. I tried to 
gain the shore, but before I could reach it a blast of wind struck 
the water and lashed it at once into foam. The next moment it 
overtook the boat. Alas ! I was nothing of a sailor ; and my 


protecting fairy forsook me in the moment of peril. I endeav- 
ored to lower the sail ; but in so doing I had to quit the helm ; 
the bark was overturned in a instant, and I was thrown into the 
water. I endeavored to cling to the wreck, but missed my hold ; 
being a poor swimmer, I soon found myself sinking, but grasped 
a light oar that was floating by me. It was not sufficient for 
my support ; I again sank beneath the surface ; there was a 
rushing and bubbling sound in my ears, and all sense forsook 

How long I remained insensible, I know not. I had a con- 
fused notion of being moved and tossed about, and of hearing- 
strange beings and strange voices around me ; but all was like 
a hideous dream. When I at length recovered full conscious- 
ness and perception, I found myself in bed in a spacious cham- 
ber, furnished with more taste than I had been accustomed to. 
The bright rays of a morning sun were intercepted by curtains of 
a delicate rose color, that gave a soft, voluptuous tinge to every 
object. Not far from my bed, on a classic tripod, was a basket 
of beautiful exotic flowers, breathing the sweetest fragrance. 

" Where am I? How came I here? " 

I tasked my mind to catch at some previous event, from 
which I might trace up the thread of existence to the present 
moment. By degrees I called to mind the fairy pinnace, my 
daring embarkation, my adventurous voyage, and my disas- 
trous shipwreck. Beyond that, all was chaos. How came I 
here ? What unknown region had I landed upon ? The people 
that inhabited it must be gentle and amiable, and of elegant 
tastes, for they loved downy beds, fragrant flowers, and rose- 
colored curtains. 

While I lay thus musing, the tones of a harp reached my ear. 
Presently they were accompanied by a female voice. It came 
from the room below ; but in the profound stillness of my 
chamber not a modulation was lost. My sisters were all con- 
sidered good musicians, and sang very tolerably ; but I had 
never heard a voice like this. There was no attempt at diffi- 
cult execution, or striking effect ; but there were exquisite 
inflections, and tender turns, which art could not reach. 
Nothing but feeling and sentiment could produce them. It 
was soul breathed forth in sound. I was always alive to the 
influence of music ; indeed, I was susceptible of voluptuous 
influences of every kind sounds, colors, shapes, and fragrant 
odors. I was the very slave of sensation. 


I lay mute and breathless, and drank in every note of this 
siren strain. It thrilled through my whole frame, and tilled 
my soul with melody and love. I pictured to myself, with 
curious logic, the form of the unseen musician. Such melodi- 
ous sounds and exquisite inflections could only be produced by 
organs of the most delicate flexibility. Such organs do not 
belong to coarse, vulgar forms ; they are the harmonious results 
of fair proportions and admirable symmetry. A being so 
organized must be lovely. 

Again my busy imagination was at work. I called to mind 
the Arabian story of a prince, borne away during sleep by a 
good genius, to the distant abode of a princess of ravishing 
beauty. I do not pretend to say that I believed in having 
experienced a similar transportation ; but it was my inveterate 
habit to cheat myself with fancies of the kind, and to give the 
tinge of illusion to surrounding realities. 

The witching sound had ceased, but its vibrations still played 
round my heart, and filled it with a tumult of soft emotions. 
At this moment, a self-upbraiding pang shot through my bosom. 
"Ah, recreant!" a voice seemed to exclaim, "is this the 
stability of thine affections ? What ! hast thou so soon forgot- 
ten the nymph of the fountain? Has one song, idly piped in 
thine ear, been sufficient to charm away the cherished tenderness 
of a whole summer? " 

The wise may smile but I am in a confiding mood, and 
must confess my weakness. I felt a degree of compunction at 
this sudden infidelity, yet I could not resist the power of present 
fascination. My peace of mind was destroyed by conflicting 
claims. The nymph of the fountain came over my memory, 
with all the associations of fairy footsteps, shad} 7 groves, soft 
echoes, and wild streamlets ; but this new passion was produced 
by a strain of soul-subduing melody, still lingering in my ear, 
aided by a downy bed, fragrant flowers, and rose-colored cur- 
tains. "Unhappy youth!" sighed I to myself, "distracted 
by such rival passions, and the empire of thy heart thus vio- 
lently contested by the sound of a voice, and the print of a 
footstep ! ' ' 

I had not remained long in this mood, when I heard the door 
of the room gently opened. I turned my head to see what 
inhabitant of this enchanted palace should appear ; whether 
page in green, hideous dwarf, or haggard fairy. It was my 
own man Scipio. He advanced with cautious step, and was 


delighted, as he said, to find me so much myself again. My 
first questions were as to where I was and how I came there ? 
Scipio told me a long story of his having been fishing in a 
canoe at the time of my hare-brained cruise ; of his noticing 
the gathering squall, and my impending danger ; of his has- 
tening to join me, but arriving just in time to snatch me from 
a watery grave ; of the great difficulty in restoring me to ani- 
mation ; and of my being subsequently conveyed, in a state of 
insensibility, to this mansion. 

" But where am I? " was the reiterated demand. 

" In the house of Mr. Somerville." 

" Somerville Somerville!" I recollected to have heard 
that a gentleman of that name had recently taken up his resi- 
dence at some distance from my father's abode, on the opposite 
side of the Hudson. He was commonly known by the name 
of " French Somerville," from having passed part of his early 
life in France, and from his exhibiting traces of French taste in 
his mode of living, and the arrangements of his house. In 
fact, it was in his pleasure-boat, which had got adrift, that I 
had made my fanciful and disastrous cruise. All this was sim- 
ple, straightforward matter of fact, and threatened to demolish 
all the cobweb romance I had been spinning, when fortunately 
I again heard the tinkling -of a harp. I raised myself in bed, 
and listened. 

" Scipio," said I, with some little hesitation, " I heard some 
one singing just now. Who was it? " 

" Oh, that was Miss Julia." 

"Julia! Julia! Delightful! what a name ! And, Scipio 
is she is she pretty ? ' ' 

Scipio grinned from ear to ear. "Except Miss Sophy, she 
was the most beautiful young lady he had ever seen." 

I should observe, that my sister Sophia was considered by 
all the servants a paragon of perfection. 

Scipio now offered to remove the basket of flowers ; he was 
afraid their odor might be too powerful ; but Miss Julia had 
given them that morning to be placed in my room. 

These flowers, then, had been gathered by the fairy fingers 
of my unseen beauty ; that sweet breath which had filled my 
ear with melody had passed over them. I made Scipio hand 
them to me, culled several of the most delicate, and laid them 
on my bosom. 

Mr. Somerville paid me a visit not long afterward. He was 
an interesting study for me, for he was the father of my unseen 
beauty, and probably resembled her. I scanned him closely. 


He was a tall and elegant man, with an open, affable manner, 
and an erect and graceful carriage. His eyes were bluish-gray, 
and though not dark, yet at times were sparkling and expres- 
sive. His hair was dressed and powdered, and being lightly 
combed up from his forehead, added to the loftiness of his 
aspect. He was fluent in discourse, but his conversation had 
the quiet tone of polished society, without any of those bold 
flights of thought, and picturings of fancy, which I so much 

My imagination was a little puzzled, at first, to make out of 
this assemblage of personal and mental qualities, a picture that 
should harmonize with my previous idea of the fair unseen. 
By dint, however, of selecting what it liked, and giving a touch 
here and a touch there, it soon finished out a satisfactory 

" Julia must be tall," thought I, " and of exquisite grace and 
dignity. She is not quite so courtly as her father, for she has 
been brought up in the retirement of the country. Neither is 
she of such vivacious deportment ; for the tones of her voice 
are soft and plaintive, and she loves pathetic music. She is 
rather pensive yet not too pensive ; just what is called inter- 
esting. Her eyes are like her father's, except that they are of 
a purer blue, and more tender and languishing. She has light 
hair not exactly flaxen, for I do not like flaxen hair, but 
between that and auburn. In a word, she is a tall, elegant, 
imposing, languishing, blue-eyed, romantic-looking beauty." 
And having thus finished her picture, I felt ten times more in 
love with her than ever. 

I felt so much recovered that I would at once have left my 
room, but Mr. Somerville objected to it. He had sent early 
word to my family of my safety ; and my father arrived in the 
course of the morning. He was shocked at learning the risk 
I had run, but rejoiced to find me so much restored, and was 
warm in his thanks to Mr. Somerville for his kindness. The 
other only required, in return, that I might remain two or three 
days as his guest, to give time for my recovery, and for our 
forming a closer acquaintance ; a request which my father 
readily granted. Scipio accordingly accompanied my father 
home, and returned with a supply of clothes, and with affec- 
tionate letters from my mother and sisters. 

The next morning, aided by Scipio, I made my toilet with 
rather more care than usual, and descended the stairs with some 


trepidation, eager to see the original of the portrait which had 
been so completely pictured in my imagination. 

On entering the parlor, I found it deserted. Like the rest of 
the house, it was furnished in a foreign style. The curtains 
were of French silk ; there were Grecian couches, marble tables, 
pier-glasses, and chandeliers. What chiefly attracted my eye, 
were documents of female taste that I saw around me ; a piano, 
with an ample stock of Italian music ; a book of poetry lying 
on the sofa ; a vase of fresh flowers on a table, and a portfolio 
open with a skilful and half-finished sketch of them. In the 
window was a canary bird, in a gilt cage, and near by, the harp 
thatJiad been in Julia's arms. Happy harp! But where was 
the being that reigned in this little empire of delicacies ? that 
breathed poetry and song, and dwelt among birds and flowers, 
and rose-colored curtains? 

Suddenly I heard the hall door fly open, the quick pattering 
of light steps, a wild, capricious strain of music, and the shrill 
barking of a dog. A light, frolic nymph of fifteen came trip- 
ping into the room, playing on a flageolet, with a little spaniel 
romping after her. Her gypsy hat had fallen back upon her 
shoulders ; a profusion of glossy brown hair was blown in rich 
ringlets about her face, which beamed through them with the 
brightness of smiles and dimples. 

At sight of me she stopped short, in the most beautiful con- 
fusion, stammered out a word or two about looking for her 
father, glided out of the door, and I heard her bounding up 
the staircase, like a frightened fawn, with the little dog barking 
after her. 

When Miss Somerville returned to the parlor, she was quite 
a different being. She entered, stealing along by her mother's 
side with noiseless step, and sweet timidity : her hair was 
prettily adjusted, and a soft blush mantled on her damask 
cheek. Mr. Somerville accompanied the ladies, and introduced 
me regularly to them. There were many kind inquiries and 
much sympathy expressed, on the subject of my nautical acci- 
dent, and some remarks upon the wild scenery of the neighbor- 
hood, with which the ladies seemed perfectly acquainted. 

" You must know," said Mr. Somerville, " that we are great 
navigators, and delight in exploring every nook and corner of 
the river. My daughter, too, is a great hunter of the pictur- 
esque, and transfers every rock and glen to her portfolio. By 
the way, my dear, show Mr. Mountjoy that pretty scene you 
have lately sketched." Julia complied, blushing, and drew 
from her portfolio a colored sketch. I almost started at the 


sight. It was my favorite brook. A sudden thought darted 
across my mind. I glanced down my eye, and beheld the 
divinest little foot in the world. Oh, blissful conviction ! The 
struggle of my affections was at an end. The voice and 
the footstep were no longer at variance. Julia Somerville was 
the nymph of the fountain ! 

What conversation passed during breakfast I do not recollect, 
and hardly was conscious of at the time, for my thoughts were 
in complete confusion. I wished to gaze on Miss Somerville, 
but did not dare. Once, indeed, I ventured a glance. She was 
at that moment darting a similar one from under a covert of 
ringlets. Our eyes seemed shocked by the rencontre, and fell ; 
hers through the natural modesty of her sex, mine through a 
bashfulness produced by the previous workings of my imagina- 
tion. That glance, however, went like a sunbeam to my heart. 

A convenient mirror favored my diffidence, and gave me the 
reflection of Miss Somerville's form. It is true it only presented 
the back of her head, but she had the merit of an ancient 
statue ; contemplate her from any point of view, she was beauti- 
ful. And yet she was totally different from every thing I had 
before conceived of beauty. She was not the serene, medita- 
tive maid that I had pictured the nymph of the fountain ; nor 
the tall, soft, languishing, blue-eyed, dignified being that I had 
fancied the minstrel of the harp. There was nothing of dignity 
about her : she was girlish in her appearance, and scarcely of 
the middle size ; but then there was the tenderness of budding 
youth ; the sweetness of the half-blown rose, when not a tint 
or perfume has been withered or exhaled ; there were smiles 
and dimples, and all the soft witcheries of ever-varying expres- 
sion. I wondered that I could ever have admired any other 
style of beauty. 

After breakfast, Mr. Somerville departed to attend to the 
concerns of his estate, and gave me in charge of the ladies. 
Mrs. Somerville also was called away by household cares, and 
I was left alone with Julia ! Here, then, was the situation 
which of all others I had most coveted. I was in the presence 
of the lovely being that had so long been the desire of my 
heart. We were alone ; propitious opportunity for a lover ! 
Did I seize upon it? Did I break out in one of my accustomed 
rhapsodies ? No such thing ! Never was being more awkwardly 

" What can be the cause of this? " thought I. tk Surely, I 


cannot stand in awe of this young girl. I am of course her 
superior in intellect, and am never embarrassed in company with 
my tutor, notwithstanding all his wisdom." 

It was passing strange. I felt that if she were an old woman, 
I should be quite at my ease ; if she were even an ugly woman, 
I should make out very well : it was her beauty that overpowered 
me. How little do lovely women know what awful beings they 
are, in the eyes of inexperienced youth ! Young men brought 
up in the fashionable circles of our cities will smile at all this. 
Accustomed to mingle incessantly in female society, and to have 
the romance of the heart deadened by a thousand frivolous flirta- 
tions, women are nothing but women in their eyes ; but to a 
susceptible youth like myself, brought up in the country, they 
are perfect divinities. 

Miss Somerville was at first a little embarrassed herself ; but, 
somehow or other, women have a natural adroitness in recov- 
ering their self-possession ; they are more alert in their minds, 
and graceful in their manners. Beside, I was but an ordinary 
personage in Miss Somerville 's eyes ; she was not under the 
influence of such a singular course of imaginings as had sur- 
rounded her, in my eyes, with the illusions of romance. Per- 
haps, too, she saw the confusion in the opposite camp and 
gained courage from the discovery. At any rate she was the 
first to take the field. 

Her conversation, however, was only on common-place topics, 
and in an easy, well-bred style. I endeavored to respond in 
the same manner ; but I was strangely incompetent to the task. 
My ideas were frozen up ; even words seemed to fail me. I 
was excessively vexed at myself, for I wished to be uncommonly 
elegant. I tried two or three times to turn a pretty thought, 
or to utter a fine sentiment ; but it would come forth so trite, 
so forced, so mawkish, that I was ashamed of it. My very 
voice sounded discordantly, though I sought to modulate it into 
the softest tones. "The truth is," thought I to myself, 
44 I cannot bring my mind down to the small talk necessary 
for young girls ; it is too masculine and robust for the mincing 
measure of parlor gossip. I am a philosopher and that 
accounts foi 1 it." 

The entrance of Mrs. Somerville at length gave me relief. I 
at once breathed freely, and felt a vast deal of confidence come 
over me. " This is strange," thought I, " that the appearance 
of another woman should revive my courage ; that I should be 
a better match for two women than one. However, since it is 
so, I will take advantage of the circumstance, and let this young 


lady see that I am not so great a simpleton as she probably 
thinks me." 

I accordingly took up the book of poetry which lay upon the 
sofa. It was Milton's " Paradise Lost." Nothing could have 
been more fortunate ; it afforded a fine scope for my favorite 
vein of grandiloquence. I went largely into a discussion of its 
merits, or rather an enthusiastic eulogy of them. My observa- 
tions were addressed to Mrs. Somerville, for I found I could 
talk to her with more ease than to her daughter. She appeared 
alive to the beauties of the poet, and disposed to meet me in the 
discussion ; but it was not my object to hear her talk ; it was 
to talk myself. I anticipated all she had to say, overpowered 
her with the copiousness of my ideas, and supported and illus- 
trated them by long citations from the author. 

While thus holding forth, I cast a side glance to see how Miss 
Somerville was affected. She had some embroidery stretched 
on a frame before' her, but had paused in her labor, and was 
looking down as if lost in mute attention. I felt a glow of self- 
satisfaction, but I recollected, at the same time, with a kind of 
pique, the advantage she had enjoyed over me in our tete-a-tete. 
I determined to push my triumph, and accordingly kept on with 
redoubled ardor, until I had fairly exhausted my subject, or 
rather my thoughts. 

I had scarce come to a full stop, when Miss Somerville raised 
her eyes from the work on which they had been fixed, and turn- 
ing to her mother, observed : " I have been considering, mamma, 
whether to work these flowers plain, or in colors." 

Had an ice-bolt shot to my heart, it could not have chilled me 
more effectually. "What a fool," thought I, "have I been 
making myself squandering away fine thoughts, and fine lan- 
guage, upon a light mind, and an ignorant ear ! This girl knows 
nothing of poetry. She has no soul, I fear, for its beauties. 
Can any one have real sensibility of heart, and not be alive to 
poetry ? However, she is young ; this part of her education has 
been neglected : there is time enough to remedy it. I will be 
her preceptor. I will kindle in her mind the sacred flame, and 
lead her through the fairy land of song. But after all, it is 
rather unfortunate that I should have fallen in love with a woman 
who knows nothing of poetry." 

I passed a day not altogether satisfactory. I was a little dis- 
appointed that Miss Somerville did not show any poetical feel- 


ing. " I am afraid, after all," said I to myself, " she is light 
and girlish, and more fitted to pluck wild flowers, play on the 
flageolet, and romp with little dogs, than to converse with a man 
of my turn." 

I believe, however, to tell the truth, I was more out of humor 
with myself. I thought I had made the worst first appearance 
that ever hero made, either in novel or fairy tale. I was out of 
all patience, when I called, to mind my awkward attempts at 
ease and elegance in the tete-a-tete. And then my intolerable 
long lecture about poetry to catch the applause of a heedless 
auditor ! But there 1 was not to blame. I had certainly been 
eloquent : it was her fault that the eloquence was wasted. To 
meditate upon the embroidery of a flower, when I was expatiat- 
ing on the beauties of Milton ! She might at least have admired 
the poetry, if she did not relish the manner in which it was de- 
livered : though that was not despicable, for I had recited pas- 
sages in my best style, which my mother and sisters had always 
considered equal to a play. "Oh, it is evident," thought I, 
4 ' Miss Somerville has very little soul ! " ' 

Such were my fancies and cogitations during the day, the 
greater part of which was spent in my chamber, for I was still 
languid. My evening was passed in the drawing-room, where I 
overlooked Miss Somerville's portfolio of sketches. 

They were executed with great taste, and showed a nice ob- 
servation of the peculiarities of nature. They were all her own, 
and free from those cunning tints and touches of "the drawing- 
master, by which young ladies' drawings, like their heads, are 
dressed up for company. There was no garish and vulgar trick 
of colors, either ; all was executed with singular truth and sim- 

''And yet," thought I, " this little being, who has so pure an 
eye to take in, as in a limpid brook, all the graceful forms and 
magic tints of nature, has no soul for poetry ! " 

Mr. Somerville, toward the latter part of the evening, observ- 
ing my eye to wander occasionally to the harp, interpreted and 
met my wishes with his accustomed civility. 

" Julia, my dear," said he, " Mr. Mountjoy would like to hear 
a little music from your harp ; let us hear, too, the sound of 
your voice." 

Julia immediately complied, without any of that hesitation 
and difficulty, by which young ladies are apt to make company 
pay dear for bad music. She sang a sprightly strain, in a bril- 
liant style, that came trilling playfully over the ear ; and the 
bright eye and dimpling smile showed that her little heart danced 


with the song. Her pet canary bird, who hung close by, was 
wakened by the music, and burst forth into an emulating strain. 
Julia smiled with a pretty air of defiance, and played louder. 

After some time, the music changed, and ran into a plaintive 
strain, in a minor key. Then it was. that all the former witch- 
ery of her voice came over me ; then it was that she seemed to 
sing from the heart and to the heart. Her fingers moved about 
the chords as if they scarcely touched them. Her whole manner 
and appearance changed ; her eyes beamed with the softest 
expression ; her countenance, her frame, all seemed subdued 
into tenderness. She rose from the harp, leaving it still vibrat- 
ing with sweet sounds, and moved toward her father to bid him 
good night. 

His eyes had been fixed on her intently, during her perform- 
ance. As she came before him he parted her shining ringlets 
with both his hands, and looked down with the fondness of a 
father on her innocent face. The music seemed still lingering 
in its lineaments, and the action of her father brought a moist 
gleam in her eye. He kissed her fair forehead, after the French 
mode of parental caressing : " Good night, and God bless 3 T ou," 
said he, " my good little girl ! " 

Julia tripped away, with a tear in her eye, a dimple in her 
cheek, and a light heart in her bosom. I thought it the prettiest 
picture of paternal and filial affection I had ever seen. 

When I retired to bed, a new train of thoughts crowded into 
my brain. cf After all," said I to myself, " it is clear this girl 
has a soul, though she was not moved by my eloquence. She 
has all the outward signs and evidences of poetic feeling. She 
paints well, and has an eye for nature. She is a fine musician, 
and enters into the very soul of song. What a pity that she 
knows nothing of poetry ! But we will see what is to be done. 
I am irretrievably in love with her ; what then am I to do ? 
Come down to the level of her mind, or endeavor to raise her 
to some kind of intellectual equality with myself ? That is the 
most generous course. She will look up to me as a benefactor. 
I shall become associated in her mind with the lofty thoughts 
and harmonious graces of poetry. She is apparently docile : 
beside, the difference of our ages will give me an ascendency 
over her. She cannot be above sixteen years of age, and I am 
full turned of twenty." So, having built this most delectable of 
air-castles, I fell asleep. 

The next morning I was quite a different being. I no longer 
felt fearful of stealing a glance at Julia ; on the contrary, I 


contemplated her steadily, with the benignant eye of a benefac- 
tor. Shortly after breakfast I found myself alone with her, as 
I had on the preceding morning ; but I felt nothing of the awk- 
wardness of our previous tete-a-tete. I was elevated by the 
consciousness of my intellectual superiority, and should almost 
have felt a sentiment of pity for the ignorance of the lovely little 
being, if I had not felt also the assurance that I should be able 
to dispel it. " But it is time," thought I, "to open school." 

Julia was occupied in arranging some music on her piano. 
I looked over two or three songs ; they were Moore's Irish 

' l - 1 These are pretty things! " said I, flirting the leaves over 
lightly, and giving a slight shrug, by way of qualifying the 

"Oh, I love them of all things," said Julia, "they're so 
touching ! ' ' 

" Then you like them for the poetry," said I with an encour- 
aging smile. 

" Oh yes ; she thought them charmingly written." 

Now was my time. "Poetry," said I, assuming a didactic 
attitude and air, " poetry is one of the most pleasing studies 
that can occupy a youthful mind. It renders us susceptible of 
the gentle impulses of humanity, and cherishes a delicate per- 
ception of all that is virtuous and elevated in morals, and grace- 
ful and beautiful in physics. It " 

I was going on in a style that would have graced a professor 
of rhetoric, when I saw a light smile playing about Miss Somer- 
ville's mouth, and that she began to turn over the leaves of a 
music-book. I recollected her inattention to my discourse of 
the preceding morning. "There is no fixing her light mind," 
thought I, "by abstract theory; we will proceed practically." 
As it happened, the identical volume of Milton's Paradise Lost 
was lying at hand. 

"Let me recommend to you, my young friend," said I, in 
one of those tones of persuasive admonition, which I had so 
often loved in Glencoe, " let me recommend to you this admir- 
able poem ; you will find in it sources of intellectual enjoyment 
far superior to those songs which have delighted you." Julia 
looked at the book, and then at me, with a whimsically dubious 
air. "Milton's Paradise Lost ?" said she; "oh, I know the 
greater part of that by heart." 

I had not expected to find my pupil so far advanced ; how- 
ever, the Paradise Lost is a kind of school-book, and its finest 
passages are given to young ladies as tasks. 


" 1 find," said I to myself, " I must not treat her as so com- 
plete a novice ; her inattention yesterday could not have pro- 
ceeded from absolute ignorance, but merely from a want of 
poetic feeling. I'll try her again." 

I now determined to dazzle her with my own erudition, and 
launched into a harangue that would have done honor to an 
institute. Pope, Spenser, Chaucer, and the old dramatic writ- 
ers were all dipped into, with the excursive flight of a swallow. 
I did not confine myself to English poets, but gave a glance at 
the French and Italian schools ; I passed over Ariosto in full 
wing, but paused on Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. I dwelt 
on the character of Clorinda : "There's a character," said 1, 
" that you will find well worthy a woman's study. It shows to 
what exalted heights of heroism the sex can rise, how glori- 
ously they may share even in the stern concerns of men." 

"For my part," said Julia, gently taking advantage of a 
pause, " for my part, I prefer the character of Sophronia." 

I was thunderstruck. She then had read Tasso ! This girl 
that I had been treating as an ignoramus in poetry ! She pro- 
ceeded with a slight glow of the cheek, summoned up perhaps 
by a casual glow of feeling : 

" I do not admire those masculine heroines," said she, " who 
aim at the bold qualities of the opposite sex. Now Sophro- 
nia only exhibits the real qualities of a woman, wrought up to 
their highest excitement. She is modest, gentle, and retiring, 
as it becomes a woman to be ; but she has all the strength of 
affection proper to a woman. She cannot fight for her people 
as Clorinda does, but she can offer herself up, and die to serve 
them. You may admire Clorinda, but you surely would be 
more apt to love Sophronia; at least," added she, suddenly 
appearing to recollect herself, and blushing at having launched 
into such a discussion, " at least that is what papa observed 
when we read the poem together." 

" Indeed," said I, dryly, for I felt disconcerted and nettled at 
being unexpectedly lectured by my pupil; "indeed, I do not 
exactly recollect the passage." 

"Oh," said Julia, "I can repeat it to you;" and she im- 
mediately gave it in Italian. 

Heavens and earth ! here was a situation ! I knew no more 
of Italian than I did of the language of Psalmanazar. What a 
dilemma for a would-be-wise man to be placed in ! I saw 
Julia waited for my opinion. 

"In fact," said I, hesitating, "I I do not exactly under- 
stand Italian." 


" Oh," said Julia, with the utmost naivete, " I have no doubt 
it is very beautiful in the translation." 

I was glad to break up school, and get back to my chamber, 
full of the mortification which a wise man in love experiences 
on finding his mistress wiser than himself. "Translation! 
translation!" muttered I to myself, as I jerked the door shut 
behind me : "I am surprised my father has never had me 
instructed in the modern languages. They are all-important. 
What is the use of Latin and Greek ? No one speaks them ; 
but here, the moment I make my appearance in the world, a 
little girl slaps Italian in my face. However, thank heaven, 
a language is easily learned. The moment I return home, I'll 
set about studying Italian ; and to prevent future surprise, I 
will study Spanish and German at the same time ; and if any 
young lady attempts to quote Italian upon me again, I'll bury 
her under a heap of High Dutch poetry ! " 

I felt now like some mighty chieftain, who has carried the 
war into a weak country, with full confidence of success, and 
been repulsed and obliged to draw off his forces from before 
some inconsiderable fortress. 

"However," thought I, " I have as yet brought only my 
light artillery into action : we shall see what is to be done with 
my heavy ordnance. Julia is evidently well versed in poetry ; 
but it is natural she should be so ; it is allied to painting and 
music, and is congenial to the light graces of the female char- 
acter. We will try her on graver themes." 

I felt all my pride awakened ; it even for a time swelled 
higher than my love. I was determined completely to establish 
my mental superiority, and subdue the intellect of this little 
being ; it would then be time to sway the sceptre of gentle 
empire, and win the affections of her heart. 

Accordingly, at dinner I again took the field, en potence. I 
now addressed myself to Mr. Somerville, for I was about to 
enter upon topics in which a young girl like her could not be 
well versed. I led, or rather forced, the conversation into a 
vein of historical erudition, discussing several of the most 
prominent facts of ancient history, and accompanying them 
with sound, indisputable apothegms. 

Mr. Somerville listened to me with the air of a man receiv- 
ing information. I was encouraged, and went on gloriously 
from theme to theme of school declamation. I sat with Harms 


on the ruins of Carthage ; I defended the bridge with Horatius 
Codes ; thrust my hand into the flame with Martius Scsevola, 
and plunged with Curtius into the yawning gulf ; I fought 
side by side with Leonidas, at the straits of Thermopylae ; 
and was going full drive into the battle of Plataea, when my 
memory, which is the worst in the world, failed me, just as 
I wanted the name of the Lacedaemonian commander. 

"Julia, my dear," said Mr. Somerville, " perhaps you may 
recollect the name of which Mr. Mountjoy is in quest? " 

Julia colored slightly. " I believe," said she, in a low voice, 
" I believe it was Pausanias." 

This unexpected sally, instead of re-enforcing me. threw my 
whole scheme of battle into confusion, and the Athenians re- 
mained unmolested in the field. 

I am half inclined, since, to think Mr. Somerville meant this 
as a sly hit at my schoolboy pedantry ; but he was too well bred 
not to seek to relieve me from my mortification. " Oh ! " said 
he, " Julia is our family book of reference for names, dates, 
and distances, and has an excellent memory for history and 

I now became desperate ; as a last resource I turned to meta- 
physics. "If she is a philosopher in petticoats," thought I, 
"it is all over with me." Here, however, I had the field to 
myself. I gave chapter and verse of my tutor's lectures, 
heightened by all his poetical illustrations ; I even went further 
than he had ever ventured, and plunged into such depths of 
metaphysics, that I was in danger of sticking in the mire at the 
bottom. Fortunately, I had auditors who apparently could not 
detect my flounderings. Neither Mr. Somerville nor his 
daughter offered the least interruption. 

When the ladies had retired, Mr. Somerville sat some time 
with me ; and as I was no longer anxious to astonish, I per- 
mitted myself to listen, and found that he was really agreeable. 
He was quite communicative, and from his conversation I was 
enabled to form a juster idea of his daughter's character, and 
the mode in which she had been brought up. Mr. Somerville 
had mingled much with the world, and with what is termed 
fashionable society. He had experienced its cold elegancies 
and gay insincerities ; its dissipation of the spirits and squander- 
ings of the heart. Like many men of the world, though he had 
wandered too far from nature ever to return to it, yet he had 
the good taste and good feeling to look back fondly to its simple 
delights, and to determine that his child, if possible, should 
never leave them. He had superintended her education with 


scrupulous care, storing her mind with the graces of polite 
literature, and with such knowledge as would enable it to fur- 
nish its own amusement and occupation, and giving her all the 
accomplishments that sweeten and enliven the circle of domestic 
life. He had been particularly sedulous to exclude all fashion- 
able affectations ; all false sentiment, false sensibility, and false 
romance. "Whatever advantages she may possess," said he, 
" she is quite unconscious of them. She is a capricious little 
being, in every thing but her affections ; she is, however, free 
from art ; simple, ingenuous, amiable, and, I thank God ! 

Such was the eulogy of a fond father, delivered with a tender- 
ness that touched me. I could not help making a casual in- 
quiry, whether, among the graces of polite literature, he had 
included a slight tincture of metaphysics. He smiled, and told 
me he had not. 

On the whole, when, as usual, that night, I summed up the 
day's observations on my pillow, I was not altogether dissatis- 
fied. " Miss Somerville," said I, " loves poetry, and I like her 
the better for it. She has the advantage of me in Italian ; 
agreed ; what is it to know a variety of languages, but merely 
to have a variety of sounds to express the same idea? Original 
thought is the ore of the mind ; language is but the accidental 
stamp and coinage by which it is put into circulation. If I 
can furnish an original idea, what care J how many languages 
she can translate it into? She may be able also to quote 
names, and dates, and latitudes better than I ; but that is a 
mere effort of the memory. I admit she is more accurate in 
history and geography than I ; but then she knows nothing of 

I had now sufficiently recovered to return home ; yet I could 
not think of leaving Mr. Somerville 's without having a little 
further conversation with him on the subject of his daughter's 

" This Mr. Somerville," thought I, " is a very accomplished, 
elegant man ; he has seen a good deal of the world, and, upon 
the whole, has profited by what he has seen. He is not without 
information, and, as far as he thinks, appears to think cor- 
rectly ; but after all, he is rather superficial, and does not think 
profoundly. He seems to take no delight in those metaphysi- 
cal abstractions that are the proper aliment of masculine 
minds." I called to mind various occasions' in which I had 
indulged largely in metaphysical discussions, but could recollect 
no instance where I had been able to draw him out. He had 


listened, it is true, with attention, and smiled as if in acquies- 
cence, but had always appeared to avoid reply. Beside, I had 
made several sad blunders in the glow of eloquent declamation ; 
but he had never interrupted me, to notice and correct them, as 
he would have done had he been versed in the theme. 

" Now, it is really a great pity," resumed I, " that he should 
have the entire management of Miss Somerville's education. 
What a vast advantage it would be, if she could be put for a 
little time under the superintendence of Glencoe. He would 
throw some deeper shades of thought into her mind, which at 
present is all sunshine ; not but that Mr. Somerville has done 
very well, as far as he has gone ; but then he has merely pre- 
pared the soil for the strong plants of useful knowledge. She 
is well versed in the leading facts of history, and the general 
course of belles-lettres," said I; "a little more philosophy 
would do wonders." 

I accordingly took occasion to ask Mr. Somerville for a few 
moments' conversation in his study, the morning I was to 
depart. When we were alone I opened the matter fully to 
him. I commenced with the warmest eulogium of Glencoe's 
powers of mind, and vast acquirements, and ascribed to him 
all my proficiency in the higher branches of knowledge. I 
begged, therefore, to recommend him as a friend calculated to 
direct the studies of Miss Somerville ; to lead her mind, by 
degrees, to the contemplation of abstract principles, and to 
produce habits of philosophical analysis; "which," added I, 
gently smiling, u are not often cultivated by young ladies." I 
ventured to hint, in addition, that he would find Mr. Glencoe 
a most valuable and interesting acquaintance for himself ; one 
who would stimulate and evolve the powers of his mind ; and 
who might open to him tracts of inquiry and speculation, to 
which perhaps he had hitherto been a stranger. 

Mr. Somerville listened with grave attention. When I had 
finished, he thanked me in the politest manner for the interest 
I took in the welfare of his daughter and himself. He ob- 
served that, as regarded himself, he was afraid he was too old 
to benefit by the instruction of Mr. Glencoe, and that as to 
his daughter, he was afraid her mind was but little fitted for 
the study of metaphysics. " I do not wish," continued he, 
"to strain her intellects with subjects they cannot grasp, but 
to make her familiarly acquainted with those that are within 
the limits of her* capacity. I do not pretend to prescribe the 
boundaries of female genius, and am far from indulging the vul- 
gar opinion, that women are unfitted by nature for the highest 


intellectual pursuits. I speak only with reference to my 
daughter's tastes and talents. She will never make a learned 
woman ; nor, in truth, do I desire it ; for such is the jealousy 
of our sex, as to mental as well as physical ascendency, 
that a learned woman is not always the happiest. I do 
not wish my daughter to excite envy, nor to battle with the 
prejudices of the world ; but to glide peaceably through life, 
on the good will and kind opinion of her friends. She has 
ample employment for her little head, in the course I have 
marked out for her ; and is busy at present with some branches 
of natural history, calculated to awaken her perceptions to the 
beauties and wonders of nature, and to the inexhaustible vol- 
ume of wisdom constantly spread open before her eyes. I 
consider that woman most likely to make an agreeable com- 
panion, who can draw topics of pleasing remark from every 
natural object ; and most likely to be cheerful and contented, 
who is continually sensible of the order, the harmony, and the 
invariable beneficence, that reign throughout the beautiful 
world we inhabit." 

"But," added he, smiling, "I am betraying myself into a 
lecture, instead of merely giving a reply to your kind offer. 
Permit me to take the liberty, in return, of inquiring a little 
about your own pursuits. You speak of having finished your 
education ; but of course you have a line of private study and 
mental occupation marked out ; for you must know the impor- 
tance, both in point of interest and happiness, of keeping the 
mind employed. May I ask what system you observe in your 
intellectual exercises?" 

" Oh, as to system," I observed, " I could never bring myself 
into any thing of the kind. I thought it best to let my genius 
take its own course, as it always acted the most vigorously when 
stimulated by inclination." 

Mr. Somerville shook his head. "This same genius," said 
he, " is a wild quality, that runs away with our most promising 
young men. It has become so much the fashion, too, to give it 
the reins, that it is now thought an animal of too noble and 
generous a nature to be brought to harness. But it is all a mis- 
take. Nature never designed these high endowments to run riot 
through society, and throw the whole system into confusion. 
No, my dear sir, genius, unless it acts upon system, is very apt 
to be a useless quality to society ; sometimes an injurious, and 
certainly a very uncomfortable one, to its possessor. I have 
had many opportunities, of seeing the progress through life of 
young men who were accounted geniuses, and have found it too 


often end in early exhaustion and bitter disappointment ; and 
have as often noticed that these effects might be traced to a 
total want of system. There were no habits of business, of 
steady purpose, and regular application, superinduced upon the 
mind ; every thing was left to chance and impulse, and native 
luxuriance, and every thing of course ran to waste and wild en- 
tanglement. Excuse me if I am tedious on this point, for I feel 
solicitous to impress it upon you, being an error extremely prev- 
alent in our country and one into which too many of our youth 
have fallen. I am happy, however, to observe the zeal which 
still appears to actuate you for the acquisition of knowledge, 
and augur every good from the elevated bent of your ambition. 
May 1 ask what has been your course of study for the last six 

Never was question more unluckily timed. For the last six 
months I had been absolutely buried in novels and romances. 

Mr. Somerville perceived that the question was embarrass- 
ing, and with his invariable good breeding, immediately re- 
sumed the conversation, without waiting for a reply. He took 
care, however, to turn it in such a way as to draw from me an 
account of the whole manner in which I had been educated, 
and the various currents of reading into which my mind had 
run. He then went on to discuss, briefly but impressively, the 
different branches of knowledge most important to a young 
man in my situation ; and to my surprise 1 found him a complete 
master of those studies on which I had supposed him ignorant, 
and on which I had been descanting so confidently. 

He complimented me, however, very graciously, upon the 
progress I had made, but advised me for the present to turn 
my attention to the physical rather than the moral sciences. 
"These studies," said he, "store a man's mind with valuable 
facts, and at the same time repress self-confidence, by letting 
him know how boundless are the realms of knowledge, and how 
little we can possibly know. Whereas metaphysical studies, 
though of an ingenious order of intellectual employment, are apt 
to bewilder some minds with vague speculations. They never 
know how far they have advanced, or what may be the correct- 
ness of their favorite theory. They render many of our young 
men verbose and declamatory, and prone to mistake the aberra- 
tions of their fancy for the inspirations of divine philosophy." 

I could not but interrupt him, to assent to the truth of these 
remarks, and to say that it had been my lot, in the course of 
my limited experience, to encounter young men of the kind, 
who had overwhelmed me by their verbosity. 


Mr. Somerville smiled. "I trust," said he, kindly, "that 
you will guard against these errors. Avoid the eagerness with 
which a young man is apt to hurry into conversation, and to 
utter the crude and ill-digested notions which he has picked up 
in his recent studies. Be assured that extensive and accurate 
knowledge is the slow acquisition of a studious lifetime ; that a 
young man, however pregnant his wit, and prompt his talent, 
can have mastered but the rudiments of learning, and, in a 
manner, attained the implements of study. Whatever may 
have been your past assiduity, you must be sensible that as yet 
you have but reached the threshold of true knowledge ; but at 
the same time, you have the advantage that you are still very 
young, and have ample time to learn." 

Here our conference ended. I walked out of the study, a very 
different being from what I was on entering it. I had gone in 
with the air of a professor about to deliver a lecture ; I came 
out like a student who had failed in his examination, and been 
degraded in his class. 

"Very young," and "on the threshold of knowledge"! 
This was extremely flattering, to one who had considered him- 
self an accomplished scholar, and profound philosopher. 

"It is singular," thought I ; "there seems to have been a 
spell upon my faculties, ever since I have been in this house. 
I certainly have not been able to do myself justice. Whenever 
I have undertaken to advise, I have had the tables turned upon 
me. It must be that I am strange and diffident among people 
I am not accustomed to. I wish they could hear me talk at 
home ! ' ' 

"After all," added I, on further reflection, " after all, there 
is a great deal of force in what Mr. Somerville has said. 'Some- 
how or other, these men of the world do now and then hit 
upon remarks that would do credit to a philosopher. Some of 
his general observations came so home, that I almost thought 
they were meant for myself. His advice about adopting a 
system of study is very judicious. I will immediately put it 
in practice. My mind shall operate henceforward with the 
regularity of clock-work." 

How far I succeeded in adopting this plan, how I fared in 
the further pursuit of knowledge, and how I succeeded in my 
suit to Julia Somerville, may afford matter for a further com- 
munication to the public, if this simple record of my early life 
is fortunate enough to excite any curiosity. 




IN the course of a voyage from England, I once fell in with 
a convoy of merchant ships bound for the West Indies. The 
weather was uncommonly bland ; and the ships vied with each 
other in spreading sail to catch a light, favoring breeze, until 
their hulls were almost hidden beneath a cloud of canvas. 
The breeze went down with the sun, and his last yellow rays 
shone upon a thousand sails, idly flapping against the masts. 

I exulted in the beauty of the scene, and augured a pros- 
perous voyage ; but the veteran master of the ship shook his 
head, and pronounced this halcyon calm a " weather breeder." 
And so it proved. A storm burst forth in the night ; the sea 
roared and raged ; and when the day broke, I beheld the late 
gallant convoy scattered in every direction ; some dismasted, 
others scudding under bare poles, and many firing signals of 

I have since been occasionally reminded of this scene, by 
those calm, sunny seasons in the commercial world, which are 
known by the name of "times of unexampled prosperity." 
They are the sure weather-breeders of traffic. Every now and 
then the world is visited by one of these delusive seasons, when 
" the credit system," as it is called, expands to full luxuriance, 
everybody trusts everybody ; a bad debt is a thing unheard of ; 
the broad way to certain and sudden wealth lies plain and 
open ; and men are tempted to dash forward boldly, from the 
facility of borrowing. 

Promissory notes, interchanged between scheming indi- 
viduals, are liberally discounted at the banks, which become 
so many mints to coin words into cash ; and as the supply of 
words is inexhaustible, it may readily be supposed what a vast 
amount of promissory capital is soon in circulation. Every one 
now talks in thousands ; nothing is heard but gigantic opera- 
tions in trade ; great purchases and sales of real property, and 
immense sums made at every transfer. All, to be sure, as yet 
exists in promise ; but the believer in promises calculates the 
aggregate as solid capital, and falls back in amazement at the 
amount of public wealth, the "unexampled state of public 


Now is the time for speculative and dreaming or designing 
men. They relate their dreams and projects to the ignorant 
and credulous, dazzle them with golden visions, and set them 
madding after shadows. The example of one stimulates an- 
other ; speculation rises on speculation ; bubble rises on bubble ; 
every one helps with his breath to swell the windy superstruc- 
ture, and admires and wonders at the magnitude of the inflation 
he has contributed to produce. 

Speculation is the romance of trade, and casts contempt upon 
all its sober realities. It renders the stock-jobber a magician, 
an.d the exchange a region of enchantment. It elevates the 
merchant into a kind of knight-errant, or rather a commercial 
Quixote. The slow but sure gains of snug percentage become 
despicable in his eyes ; no " operation ' ' is thought worthy of 
attention, that does not double or treble the investment. No 
businesses worth following, that does not promise an immediate 
fortune. As he sits musing over his ledger, with pen behind 
his ear,' he is like La Mancha's hero in his study, dreaming 
over his books of chivalry. His dusty counting-house fades 
before his eyes, or changes into a Spanish mine ; he gropes 
after diamonds, or dives after pearls. The subterranean garden 
of Aladdin is nothing to the realms of wealth that break upon 
his imagination. 

Could this delusion always last, the life of a merchant would 
indeed be a golden dream ; but it is as short as it is brilliant. 
Let but a doubt enter, and the " season of unexampled pros- 
perity " is at end. The coinage of words is suddenly curtailed ; 
the promissory capital begins to vanish into smoke ; a panic 
succeeds, and the whole superstructure, built upon credit, and 
reared by speculation, crumbles to the ground, leaving scarce 
a wreck behind : 

"It is such stuff as dreams are made of." 

When a man of business, therefore, hears on eveiy side rumors 
of fortunes suddenly acquired ; when he finds banks liberal, and 
brokers busy; when he sees adventurers flush of paper capital, 
and full of scheme and enterprise ; when he perceives a greater 
disposition to buy than to sell ; when trade overflows its accus- 
tomed channels and deluges the country ; when he hears of new 
regions of commercial adventure ; of distant marts and distant 
mines, swallowing merchandise and disgorging gold ; when he 
finds joint stock companies of all kinds forming ; railroads, 
canals, and locomotive engines, springing up on every side ; 
when idlers suddenly become men of business, and dash into the 


game of commerce as they would into the hazards of the faro 
table ; when he beholds the streets glittering with new equipages, 
palaces conjured up by the magic of speculation ; tradesmen 
flushed with sudden success, and vying with each other in osten- 
tatious expense ; in a word, "when he hears the whole community 
joining in the theme of " unexampled prosperity," let him look 
upon the whole as a "weather-breeder," and prepare for the 
impending storm. 

The foregoing remarks are intended merely as a prelude to a 
narrative I am about to lay before the public, of one of the 
most memorable instances of the infatuation of gain, to be found 
in the whole history of commerce. I allude to the famous Mis- 
sissippi bubble. It is a matter that has passed into a proverb, 
and become a phrase in every one's mouth, yet of which not one 
merchant in ten has probably a distinct idea. I have therefore 
thought that an authentic account of it would be interesting and 
salutary, at the present moment, when we are suffering under 
the effects of a severe access of the credit system, and just 
recovering from one of its ruinous delusions. 

Before entering into the story of this famous chimera, it is 
proper to give a few particulars concerning the individual who 
engendered it. John Law was born in Edinburgh in 1671. His 
father, William Law, was a rich goldsmith, and left his son an 
estate of considerable value, called Lauriston, situated about 
four miles from Edinburgh. Goldsmiths, in those days, acted 
occasionally as bankers, and his father's operations, under this 
character, may have originally turned the thoughts of the youth 
to the science of calculation, in which he became an adept ; so 
that at an early age he excelled in playing at all games of com- 

In 1694 he appeared in London, where a handsome person, 
and an easy and insinuating address, gained him currency in the 
first circles, and the nick-name of "Beau Law." The same 
personal advantages gave him success in the world of gallantry, 
until he became involved in a quarrel with Beau Wilson, his 
rival in fashion, whom he killed in a duel, and then fled to France, 
to avoid prosecution. 

He returned to Edinburgh in 1700, and remained there sev- 
eral years ; during which time he first broached his great credit 
system, offering to supply the deficiency of coin by the estab- 
lishment of a bank, which, according to his views, might emit 


a paper currency, equivalent to the whole landed estate of the 

His scheme excited great astonishment in Edinburgh ; but, 
though the government was not sufficiently advanced in finan- 
cial knowledge to detect the fallacies upon which it was founded, 
Scottish caution and suspicion served in the place of wisdom, 
and the project was rejected. Law met with no better success 
with the English Parliament ; and the fatal affair of the death 
of Wilson still hanging over him, for which he had never been 
able to procure a pardon, he again went to France. 

The financial affairs of France were at this time in a deplor- 
able condition. The wars, the pomp and profusion, of Louis 
XIV., and his religious persecutions of whole classes of the most 
industrious of his subjects, had exhausted his treasury, and over- 
whelmed the nation with debt. The old monarch clung to his 
selfish magnificence, and could not be induced to diminish his 
enormous expenditure ; and his minister of finance was driven 
to his wits' end to devise all kinds of disastrous expedients to 
keep up the royal state, and to extricate the nation from its em- 

In this state of things. Law ventured to bring forward his 
financial project. It was founded on the plan of the Bank of 
England, which had already been in successful operation several 
years. He met with immediate patronage, and a congenial 
spirit, in the Duke of Orleans, who had married a natural daugh- 
ter of the king. The duke had been astonished at the facility 
with which England had supported the burden of a public debt, 
created by the wars of Anne and William, and which exceeded 
in amount that under which France was groaning. The whole 
matter was soon explained by Law to his satisfaction. The 
latter maintained that England had stopped at the mere thresh- 
old of an art capable of creating unlimited sources of national 
wealth. The duke was dazzled with his splendid views and 
specious reasonings, and thought he clearly comprehended his 
system. Demarets, the Comptroller General of Finance, was 
not so easily deceived. He pronounced the plan of Law more 
pernicious than any of the disastrous expedients that the gov- 
ernment had yet been driven to. The old king also, Louis XIV., 
detested all innovations, especially those which came from a 
rival nation ; the project of a bank, therefore, was utterly re- 

Law remained for a while in Paris, leading a gay and affluent 
existence, owing to his handsome person, easy manners, flexi- 
ble temper, and a faro-bank which he had set up. His agree- 


able career was interrupted by a message from D'Argenson, 
Lieutenant General of Police, ordering him to quit Paris, alle- 
ging that he was " rather too skilful at the game which he had 
introduced. ' ' 

For several succeeding years he shifted his residence from 
state to state of Italy and Germany ; offering his scheme of 
finance to every court that he visited, but without success. The 
Duke of Savoy, Victor Amadeus, afterward King of Sardinia, 
was much struck with his project ; but after considering it for a 
time, replied, " I am not sufficiently powerful to ruin myself." 

The shifting, adventurous life of Law, and the equivocal 
means by which he appeared to live, playing high, and always 
with great success, threw a cloud of suspicion over him, wher- 
ever he went, and caused him to be expelled by the magistracy 
from the semi-commercial, semi-aristocratical cities of Venice 
and Genoa. 

The events of 1715 brought Law back again to Paris. Louis 
XIV. was dead. Louis XV. was a mere child, and during his 
minority the Duke of Orleans held the reins of government as 
Regent. Law had at length found his man. 

The Duke of Orleans has been differently represented by 
different contemporaries. He appears to have had excellent 
natural qualities, perverted by a bad education. He was of 
the middle size, easy and graceful, with an agreeable counte- 
nance, and open, affable demeanor. His mind was quick and 
sagacious, rather than profound ; and his quickness of intel- 
lect, and excellence of memory, supplied the lack of studious 
application. His wit was prompt and pungent ; he expressed 
himself with vivacity and precision ; his imagination was vivid, 
his temperament sanguine and joyous ; his courage daring. 
His mother, the Duchess of Orleans, expressed his character in 
a jeu d' esprit. "The fairies," said she, "were invited to be 
present at his birth, and each one conferred a talent on my son , 
he possesses them all. Unfortunately, we had forgotten to invite 
an old fairy, who, arriving after all the others, exclaimed, ' He 
shall have all the talents, excepting that to make a good use of 
them.' ' 

Under proper tuition, the Duke might have risen to real great- 
ness ; but in his early years, he was put under the tutelage of the 
Abbe Dubois, one of the subtlest and basest spirits that ever 
intrigued its way into eminent place and power. The Abb6 was 
of low origin, and despicable exterior, totally destitute of morals, 
and perfidious' in the extreme ; but with a supple, insinuating 
address, and an accommodating spirit, tolerant of all kinds of 


profligacy in others. Conscious of his own inherent baseness, 
he sought to secure an influence over his pupil, by corrupting 
his principles and fostering his vices ; he debased him, to keep 
himself from being despised. Unfortunately he succeeded. To 
the early precepts of this infamous pander have been attributed 
those excesses that disgraced the manhood of the Regent, and 
gave a licentious character to his whole course of government. 
His love of pleasure, quickened and indulged by those who 
should have restrained it, led him into all kinds of sensual indul- 
gence. He had been taught to think lightly of the most serious 
duties and sacred ties ; to turn virtue into a jest, and consider 
religion mere hypocrisy. He was a gay misanthrope, that had a 
sovereign but sportive contempt for mankind ; believed that his 
most devoted servant would be his enemy, if interest prompted ; 
and maintained that an honest man was he who had the art to 
conceal that he was the contrary. 

He surrounded himself with a set of dissolute men like him- 
self ; who, let loose from the restraint under which they had 
been held, during the latter hypocritical days of Louis XIV., 
now gave way to every kind of debauchery. With these men 
the Regent used to shut himself up, after the hours of business, 
and excluding all graver persons and graver concerns, celebrate 
the most drunken and disgusting orgies ; where obscenity and 
blasphemy formed the seasoning of conversation. For the prof- 
ligate companions of these revels, he invented the appellation 
of his roues, the literal meaning of which is men broken on the 
wheel ; intended, no doubt, to express their broken-down charac- 
ters and dislocated fortunes ; although a contemporary asserts 
that it designated the punishment that most of them merited. 
Madame de Labran, who was present at one of the Regent's 
suppers, was disgusted by the conduct and conversation of the 
host and his guests, and observed at table, that God, after he 
had created man, took the refuse clay that was left, and made 
of it the souls of lackeys and princes. 

Such was the man that now ruled the destinies of France. 
Law found him full of perplexities, from the disastrous state 
of the finances. He had already tampered with the coinage, 
calling in the coin of the nation, re-stamping it, and issuing it 
at a nominal increase of one fifth ; thus defrauding the nation 
out of twenty per cent of its capital. He was not likely, there- 
fore, to be scrupulous about any means likely to relieve him 
from financial difficulties ; he had even been led to listen to the 
cruel alternative of a national bankruptcy. 

Under these circumstances, Law confidently brought forward 


his scheme of a bank, that was to pay off the national debt, in- 
crease the revenue, and at the .same time diminish the taxes. 
The following is stated as the theory by which he recommended 
his system to the Regent. The credit enjoyed by a banker or 
a merchant, he observed, increases his capital tenfold ; that is 
to say, he who has a capital of one hundred thousand livres, 
may, if he possess sufficient credit, extend his operations to a 
million, and reap profits to that amount. In like manner, a 
state that can collect into a bank all the current coin of the 
kingdom, would be as powerful as if its capital were increased 
tenfold. The specie must be drawn into the bank, not by way 
of loan, or by taxations, but in the way of deposit. This might 
be effected in different modes, either by inspiring confidence, 
or by exerting authority. One mode, he observed, had already 
been in use. Each time that a state makes a re-coinage, it 
becomes momentarily the depository of all the money called in, 
belonging to the subjects of that state. His bank was to effect 
the same purpose ; that is to say, to receive in deposit all the 
coin of the kingdom, but to give in exchange its bills, which, 
being of an invariable value, bearing an interest, and being pay- 
able on demand, would not only supply the place of coin, but 
prove a better and more profitable currency. 

The Regent caught with avidity at the scheme. It suited his 
bold, reckless spirit, and his grasping extravagance. Not that 
he was altogether the dupe of Law's specious projects ; still he 
was apt, like many other men, unskilled in the arcana of finance, 
to mistake the multiplication of money for the multiplication 
of wealth ; not understanding that it was a mere agent or 
instrument in the interchange of traffic, to represent the value 
of the various productions of industry ; and that an increased 
circulation of coin or bank bills, in the shape of currency, 
only adds a proportion ably increased and fictitious value to 
such productions. Law enlisted the vanity of the Regent in 
his cause. He persuaded him that he saw more clearly than 
others into sublime theories of finance, which were quite above 
the ordinary apprehension. He used to declare that, except- 
ing the Regent and the Duke of Savoy, no one had thoroughly 
comprehended his system. 

It is certain that it met with strong opposition from the 
Regent's ministers, the Duke de Noailles and the Chancellor 
d'Anguesseau ; and it was no less strenuously opposed by the 
Parliament of Paris. Law, however, had a potent though 
secret coadjutor in the Abb6 Dubois, now rising, during the 
regency, into great political power, and who retained a baneful 


influence over the mind- of the Regent. This wily priest, as 
avaricious as he was ambitious, drew large sums from Law as 
subsidies, and aided him greatly in many of his most pernicious 
operations. He aided him, in the present instance, to fortify 
the mind of the Regent against all the remonstrances of his 
ministers and the parliament. 

Accordingly, on the 2d of May, 1716, letters patent were 
granted to Law, to establish a bank of deposit, discount, and 
circulation, under the firm of " Law and Company," to con- 
tinue for twenty years. The capital was fixed at six millions 
of livres, divided into shares of five hundred livres each, which 
were to be sold for twenty-five per cent of the regent's de- 
based coin, and seventy-five per cent of the public securities ; 
which were then at a great reduction from their nominal value, 
and which then amounted to nineteen hundred millions. The 
ostensible object of the bank, as set forth in the patent, was to 
encourage the commerce and manufactures of France. The 
louis-d'ors and crowns of the bank were always to retain the 
same standard of value, and its bills to be payable in them on 

At the outset, while the bank was limited in its operations, 
and while its paper really represented the specie in its vaults, 
it seemed to realize all that had been promised from it. It 
rapidly acquired public confidence, and an extended circula- 
tion, and produced an activity in commerce, unknown under the 
baneful government of Louis XIV. As the bills of the bank 
bore an interest, and as it was stipulated they would be of 
invariable value, and as hints had been artfully circulated that 
the coin would experience successive diminution, everybody 
hastened to the bank to exchange gold and silver for paper. 
So great became the throng of depositors, and so intense their 
eagerness, that there was quite a press and struggle at the bank 
door, and a ludicrous panic was awakened, as if there was dan- 
ger of their not being admitted. An anecdote of the time re- 
lates that one of the clerks, with an ominous smile, called out to 
the struggling multitude, " Have a little patience, my friends; 
we mean to take all your money ; " an assertion disastrously 
verified in the sequel. 

Thus, by the simple establishment of a bank, Law and the 
Regent obtained pledges of confidence for the consummation of 
further and more complicated schemes, as yet hidden from the 
public. In a little while, the bank shares rose enormously, and 
the amount of its notes in circulation exceeded one hundred and 
ten millions of livres. A subtle stroke of policy had rendered 


:t popular with the aristocracy. Louis XIV. had several years 
previously imposed an income tax of a tenth, giving his royal 
word that it should cease in 1717. This tax had been exceed- 
ingly irksome to the privileged orders ; and in the present dis- 
astrous times they had dreaded an augmentation of it. In 
consequence of the successful operation of Law's scheme, how- 
ever, the tax was abolished, and now nothing was to be heard 
among the nobility and clergy, but praises of the Regent and the 

Hitherto all had gone well, and all might have continued to 
go well, had not the paper system been further expanded. 
But Law had yet the grandest part of his scheme to develop. 
He had to open his ideal world of speculation, his El Dorado 
of unbounded wealth. The English had brought the vast im- 
aginary commerce of the South Seas in aid of their banking 
operations. Law sought to bring, as an immense auxiliary of 
his bank, the whole trade of the Mississippi. Under this name 
was included not merely the river so called, but the vast region 
known as Louisiana, extending from north latitude 29 up to 
Canada in north latitude 40. This country had been granted 
by Louis XIV. to the Sieur Crozat, but he had been induced to 
resign his patent. In conformity to the plea of Mr. Law, letters 
patent were granted in August, 1717, for the creation of a com- 
mercial company, which was to have the colonizing of this 
country, and the monopoly of its trade and resources, and of 
the beaver or fur trade with Canada. It was called the West- 
ern, but became better known as the Mississippi Company. 
The capital was fixed at one hundred millions of livres, divided 
into shares, bearing an interest of four per cent, which were 
subscribed for in the public securities. As the bank was to 
co-operate with the company, the Regent ordered that its bills 
should be received the same as coin, in all payments of the 
public revenue. Law was appointed chief director of this com- 
pany, which was an exact copy of the Earl of Oxford's South 
Sea Company, set on foot in 1711, and which distracted all 
England with the frenzy of speculation. In like manner with 
the delusive picturings given in that memorable scheme of the 
sources of rich trade to be opened in the South Sea countries, 
Law held forth magnificent prospects of the fortunes to be 
made in colonizing Louisiana, which was represented as a veri- 
table land of promise, capable of yielding every variety of the 
most precious produce. Reports, too, were artfully circulated, 
with great mystery, as if to the " chosen few," of mines of 
gold and silver recently discovered in Louisiana, and which 


would insure instant wealth to the early purchasers. These 
confidential whispers of course soon became public ; and were 
confirmed by travellers fresh from the Mississippi, and doubt- 
less bribed, who had seen the mines in question, and declared 
them superior in richness to those of Mexico and Peru. Nay, 
more, ocular proof was furnished to public credulity, in ingots 
of gold conveyed to the mint, as if just brought from the mines 
of Louisiana. 

Extraordinary measures were adopted to force a colonization. 
An edict was issued to collect and transport settlers to the 
Mississippi. The police lent its aid. The streets and prisons 
of Paris, and of the provincial cities, were swept of mendicants 
and vagabonds of all kinds, who were conveyed to Havre de 
Grace. About six thousand were crowded into ships, where no 
precautions had been taken for their health or accommodation. 
Instruments of all kinds proper for the working of mines were 
ostentatiously paraded in public, and put on board the vessels ; 
and the whole set sail for this fabled El Dorado, which was to 
prove the grave of the greater part of its wretched colonists. 

D'Anguesseau, the chancellor, a man of probity and integ- 
rity, still lifted his voice against the paper system of Law, and 
his project of colonization, and was eloquent and prophetic in 
picturing the evils they were calculated to produce ; the private 
distress and public degradation ; the corruption of morals and 
manners ; the triumph of knaves and schemers ; the ruin of for- 
tunes, and downfall of families. He was incited more and 
more to this opposition by the Duke de Noailles, the Minister 
of Finance, who was jealous of the growing ascendency of Law 
over the mind of the Regent, but was less honest than the 
chancellor in his opposition. The Regent was excessively an- 
noyed by the difficulties they conjured up in the way of his 
darling schemes of finance, and the countenance they gave to 
the opposition of parliament ; which body, disgusted more and 
more with the abuses of the regency, and the system of Law, 
had gone so far as to carry its remonstrances to the very foot of 
the throne. 

He determined to relieve himself from these two ministers, 
who, either through honesty or policy, interfered with all his 
plans. Accordingly, on the 28th of January, 1718, he dis- 
missed the chancellor from office, and exiled him to his estate 
in the country ; and shortly afterward removed the Duke de 
Noailles from the administration of the finances. 

The opposition of parliament to the Regent and his measures 
was carried on with increasing violence.* That body aspired 


to an equal authority with the Regent in the administration of 
affairs, and pretended, by its decree, to suspend an edict of the 
regency, ordering a new coinage and altering the value of the 
currency. But its chief hostility was levelled against Law, a 
foreigner and a heretic, and one who was considered by a ma- 
jority of the members in the light of a malefactor. In fact, so 
far was this hostility carried, that secret measures were taken to 
investigate his malversations, and to collect evidence against 
him ; and it was resolved in parliament that, should the testi- 
mony collected justify their suspicions, they would have him 
seized and brought before them ; would give him a brief trial, 
and if convicted, would hang him in the courtyard of the palace, 
and throw open the gates after the execution, that the public 
might behold his corpse ! 

Law received intimation of the danger hanging over him, and 
was in terrible trepidation. He took refuge in the Palais Royal, 
the residence of the Regent, and implored his protection. The 
Regent himself was embarrassed by the sturdy opposition of 
parliament, which contemplated nothing less than a decree re- 
versing most of his public measures, especially those of finance. 
His indecision kept Law for a time in an agony of terror and sus- 
pense. Finally, by assembling a board of justice, and bringing 
to his aid the absolute authority of the King, he triumphed over 
parliament and relieved Law from his dread of being hanged. 

The system now went on with flowing sail. The Western or 
Mississippi Company, being identified with the bank, rapidly 
increased in power and privileges. One monopoly after an- 
other was granted to it ; the trade of the Indian seas ; the slave 
trade with Senegal and Guinea ; the farming of tobacco ; the 
national coinage, etc. Each new privilege was made a pretext 
for issuing more bills, and caused an immense advance in the 
price of stock. At length, on the 4th of December, 1718, the 
Regent gave the establishment the imposing title of THE ROYAL 
BANK, and proclaimed that he had effected the purchase of all 
the shares, the proceeds of which he had added to its capital. 
This measure seemed to shock the public feeling more than any 
other connected with the system, and roused the indignation of 
parliament. The French nation had been so accustomed to 
attach an idea of every thing noble, lofty, and magnificent, to 
the royal name and person, especially during the stately and 
sumptuous reign of Louis XIV., that they could not at first 
tolerate the idea of royalty being in any degree mingled with 
matters of traffic and finance, and the king being in a manner a 
banker. It was one of the downward steps, however, by which 


royalty lost its illusive splendor in France, and became grad- 
ually cheapened in the public mind. 

Arbitrar}' measures now began to be taken to force the bills 
of the bank into artificial currency. On the 27th of December 
appeared an order in council, forbidding, under severe penal- 
ties, the payment, of any sum above six hundred livres in gold 
or silver. This decree rendered bank bills necessary in all 
transactions of purchase and sale, and called for a new emis- 
sion. The prohibition was occasionally evaded or opposed : 
confiscations were the consequence ; informers were rewarded, 
and spies and traitors began to spring up in all the domestic 
walks of life. 

The worst effect of this illusive system was the mania for 
gain, or rather for gambling in stocks, that now seized upon the 
whole nation. Under the exciting effects of lying reports, and 
the forcing effects of government decrees, the shares of the 
company went on rising in value until they reached thirteen 
hundred per cent. Nothing was now spoken of but the price 
of shares, and the immense fortunes suddenly made by lucky 
speculators. Those whom Law had deluded used every means 
to delude others. The most extravagant dreams were indulged, 
concerning the wealth to flow in upon the company from its 
colonies, its trade, and its various monopolies. It is true, noth- 
ing as yet had been realized, nor could in some time be realized, 
from these distant sources, even if productive ; but the imagi- 
nations of speculators are ever in the advance, and their con- 
jectures are immediately converted into facts. Lying reports 
now flew from mouth to mouth, of sure avenues to fortune 
suddenly thrown open. The more extravagant the fable, the 
more readily was it believed. To doubt was to awaken anger, 
or incur ridicule. In a time of public infatuation, it requires 
no small exercise of courage to doubt a popular fallacy. 

Paris now became the centre of attraction for the adventur- 
ous and the avaricious, who flocked to it, not merely from the 
provinces, but from neighboring countries. A stock exchange 
was established in a house in the Rue Quincampoix, and be- 
came immediately the gathering place of stock-jobbers. The 
exchange opened at seven o'clock, with the beat of drum and 
sound of bell, and closed at night with the same signals. 
Guards were stationed at each end of the street, to maintain 
order, and exclude carriages and horses. The whole street 
swarmed throughout the day like a bee-hive. Bargains of all 
kinds were seized upon with avidity. Shares of stock passed 
from hand to hand, mounting in value, one knew not why. 


Fortunes were made in a moment, as if by magic ; and every 
lucky bargain prompted those around to a more desperate 
throw of the die. The fever went on, increasing in intensity as 
the day declined ; and when the drum beat, and the bell rang, 
at night, to close the exchange, there were exclamations of im- 
patience and despair, as if the wheel of fortune had suddenly 
been stopped when about to make its luckiest evolution. 

To ingulf all classes in this ruinous vortex, Law now split 
the shares of fifty millions of stock each into one hundred 
shares : thus, as in the splitting of lottery tickets, accommo- 
dating the venture to the humblest purse. Society was thus 
stirred up to its very dregs, and adventurers of the lowest order 
hurried to the stock market. All honest, industrious pursuits, 
and modest gains, were now despised. Wealth was to be ob- 
tained instantly, without labor, and without stint. The upper 
classes were as base in their venality as the lower. The highest 
and most powerful nobles, abandoning all generous pursuits and 
lofty aims, engaged in the vile scuffle for gain. They were even 
baser than the lower classes ; for some of them, who were mem- 
bers of the council of the regency, abused their station and their 
influence, and promoted measures by which shares arose while 
in their hands, and they made immense profits. 

The Duke de Bourbon, the Prince of Conti, the Dukes de la 
Force and D' Antin were among the foremost of these illustrious 
stock-jobbers. They were nicknamed the Mississippi Lords, 
and they smiled at the sneering title. In fact, the usual distinc- 
tions o'f society had lost their consequence, under the reign 
of this new passion. Rank, talent, military fame, no longer 
inspired deference. All respect for others, all self-respect, 
were forgotten in the mercenary struggle of the stock-market. 
Even prelates and ecclesiastical corporations, forgetting their 
true objects of devotion, mingled among the votaries of Mam- 
mon. They were not behind those who wielded the civil 
power in fabricating ordinances suited to their avaricious pur- 
poses. Theological decisions forthwith appeared, in which the 
anathema launched by the Church against usury, was con- 
veniently construed as not extending to the traffic in bank 
shares ! 

The Abbe Dubois entered into the mysteries of stock-jobbing 
with all the zeal of an apostle, and enriched himself by the 
spoils of the credulous ; and he continually drew large sums 
from Law, as considerations for his political influence. Faith- 
less to his country, in the course of his gambling speculations 
he transferred to England a great amount of specie, which had 


been paid into the royal treasury ; thus contributing to the sub- 
sequent dearth of the precious metals. 

The female sex participated in this sordid frenzy. Princesses 
of the blood, and ladies of the highest nobility, were among 
the most rapacious of stock-jobbers. The Regent seemed to 
have the riches of Croesus at his command, and lavished money 
by hundreds of thousands upon his female relatives and favor- 
ites, as well as upon his roues, the dissolute companions of his 
debauches. "My son," writes the Regent's mother, in her 
correspondence, "gave me shares to the amount of two mil- 
lions, which I distributed among my household. The King also 
took several millions for his own household. All the royal 
family have had them ; all the children and grandchildren of 
France, and the princes of the blood." 

Luxury and extravagance kept pace with this sudden infla- 
tion of fancied wealth. The hereditary palaces of nobles were 
pulled clown, and rebuilt on a scale of augmented splendor. 
Entertainments were given, of incredible cost and magnificence. 
Never before had been such display in houses, furniture, equi- 
pages, and amusements. This was particularly the case among 
persons of the lower ranks, who had suddenly become possessed 
of millions. Ludicrous anecdotes are related of some of these 
upstarts. One, who had just launched a splendid carriage, 
when about to use it for the first time, instead of getting in at 
the door, mounted, through habitude, to his accustomed place 
behind. Some ladies of quality, seeing a well-dressed woman 
covered with diamonds, but whom nobody knew, alight from a 
very handsome carriage, inquired who she was of the footman. 
He replied, with a sneer : " It is a lady who has recently tum- 
bled from a garret into this carriage." Mr. Law's domestics 
were said to become in like manner suddenly enriched by the 
crumbs that fell from his table. His coachman, having made 
his fortune, retired from his service. Mr. Law requested him 
to procure a coachman in his place. He appeared the next day 
with two, whom he pronounced equally good, and told Mr. Law : 
" Take which of them you choose, and I will take the other !" 

Nor were these novi homini treated with the distance and 
disdain they would formerly have experienced from the haughty 
aristocracy of France. The pride of the old noblesse had been 
stifled by the stronger instinct of avarice. They rather sought 
the intimacy and confidence of these lucky upstarts ; and it has 
been observed that a nobleman would gladly take his seat at 
the table of the fortunate lackey of yesterday, in hopes of 
learning from him the secret of growing rich ! 


Law now went about with a countenance radiant with success 
and apparently dispensing wealth on every side. "He is ad- 
mirably skilled in all that relates to finance," writes the Duchess 
of Orleans, the Regent's mother, " and has put the affairs of 
the state in such good order that all the king's debts have been 
paid. He is so much run after that he has no repose night or 
day. A duchess even kissed his hand publicly. If a duchess 
can do this, what will other ladies do? " 

Wherever he went, his path, we are told, was beset by a 
sordid throng, who waited to see him pass, and sought to obtain 
the favor of a word, a nod, or smile, as if a mere glance from 
him would bestow fortune. When at home, his house was ab- 
solutely besieged by furious candidates for fortune. " They 
forced the doors," says the Duke de St. Simon; " they scaled 
his windows from the garden ; they made their way into his 
cabinet down the chimney ! " 

The same venal court was paid by all classes to his family. 
The highest ladies of the court vied with each other in mean- 
nesses to purchase the lucrative friendship of Mrs. Law and her 
daughter. They waited upon them with as much assiduity and 
adulation as if they had been princesses of the blood. The 
Regent one day expressed a desire that some duchess should 
accompany his daughter to Genoa. "My Lord," said some 
one present, "if you would have a choice from among the 
duchesses, you need but send to Mrs. Law's ; you will find them 
all assembled there." 

The wealth of Law rapidly increased with the expansion of 
the bubble. In the course of a few months he purchased four- 
teen titled estates, paying for them in paper ; and the public 
hailed these sudden and vast acquisitions of landed property as 
so many proofs of the soundness' of his system. In one in- 
stance he met with a shrewd bargainer, who had not the general 
faith in his paper money. The President de Novion insisted on 
being paid for an estate in hard coin. Law accordingly brought 
the amount, four hundred thousand livres, in specie, saying, 
with a sarcastic smile, that he preferred paying in money as its 
weight rendered it a mere incumbrarice. As it happened, the 
president could give no clear title to the land, and the money 
had to be refunded. He paid it back in paper, which Law 
dared not refuse, lest he should depreciate it in the market. 

The course of illusory credit went on triumphantly for eigh- 
teen months. Law had nearly fulfilled one of his promises, for 
the greater part of the public debt had been paid off ; but how 
paid? In bank shares, which had been trumped up several 


hundred per cent above their value, and which were to vanish 
like smoke in the hands of the holders. 

One of the most striking attributes of Law was the imper- 
turbable assurance and self-possession with which he replied to 
every objection, and found a solution for every problem. He 
had the dexterity of a juggler in evading difficulties ; and what 
was peculiar, made figures themselves, which are the very ele- 
ments of exact demonstration, the means to dazzle and be- 

Toward the latter end of 1719 the Mississippi scheme had 
reached its highest point of glory. Half a million of strangers 
had crowded into Paris, in quest of fortune. The hotels and 
lodging-houses were overflowing ; lodgings were procured with 
excessive difficulty; granaries were turned into bedrooms; 
provisions had risen enormously in price ; splendid houses 
were multiplying on every side ; the streets were crowded with 
carriages,; above a thousand new equipages had been launched. 

On the eleventh of December, Law obtained another prohibi- 
tory decree, for the purpose of sweeping all the remaining specie 
in circulation into the bank. By this it was forbidden to make 
any payment in silver above ten livres, or in gold above three 

The repeated decrees of this nature, the object of which was 
to depreciate the value of gold, and increase the illusive credit 
of paper, began to awaken doubts of a system which required 
such bolstering. Capitalists gradually awoke from their bewil- 
derment. Sound and able financiers consulted together, and 
agreed to make common cause against this continual expansion 
of a paper system. The shares of the bank and of the company 
began to decline in value. Wary men took the alarm, and began 
to realize, a word now first brought into use, to express the con- 
version of ideal property into something real. 

The Prince of Couti, one of the most prominent and grasping 
of the Mississippi lords, was the first to give a blow to the credit 
of the bank. There was a mixture of ingratitude in his conduct 
that characterized the venal baseness of the times. He had 
received from time to time enormous sums from Law, as the 
price of his influence and patronage. His avarice had increased 
with every acquisition, until Law was compelled to refuse one 
of his exactions. In revenge the prince immediately sent such 
an amount of paper to the bank to be cashed, that it required 
four wagons to bring away the silver, and he had the meanness 
to loll out of the window of his hotel and jest and exult as it 
was trundled into his port cochere. 


This was the signal for other drains of like nature. The 
English and Dutch merchants, who had purchased a great 
amount of bank paper at low prices, cashed them at the bank, 
and carried the money out of the country. Other strangers did 
the like, thus draining the kingdom of its specie, and leaving 
paper in its place. 

The Regent, perceiving these symptoms of decay in the sys- 
tem, sought to restore it to public confidence, by conferring 
marks of confidence upon its author. He accordingly resolved 
to make Law Comptroller General of the Finances of France. 
There was a material obstacle in his way. Law was a Protes- 
tant, and the Regent, unscrupulous as he was himself, did not 
dare publicly to outrage the severe edicts which Louis XIV. , in 
his bigot days, had fulminated against all heretics. Law soon 
let him know that there would be no difficulty on that head. He 
was ready at any moment to abjure his religion in the way of 
business. For decency's sake, however, it was judged proper 
he should previously be convinced and converted. A ghostly 
instructor was soon found, ready to accomplish his conversion 
in the shortest possible time. This was the Abbe Tencin, a 
profligate creature of the profligate Dubois, and like him work- 
ing his way to ecclesiastical promotion and temporal wealth, by 
the basest means. 

Under the instructions of the Abbe Tencin, Law soon mas- 
tered the mysteries and dogmas of the Catholic doctrine ; and, 
after a brief course of ghostly training, declared himself thor- 
oughly convinced and converted. To avoid the sneers and jests 
of the Parisian public, the ceremony of abjuration took place at 
Melun. Law made a pious present of one hundred thousand 
livres to the Church of St. Roque, and the Abbe Tencin was 
rewarded for his edifying labors by sundry shares and bank 
bills ; which he shrewdly took care to convert into cash, having 
as little faith in the system as in the piety of his new convert. 
A more grave and moral community might have been outraged 
by this scandalous farce ; but the Parisians laughed at it with 
their usual levity, and contented themselves with making it the 
subject of a number of songs and epigrams. 

Law now being orthodox in his faith, took out letters of nat- 
uralization, and having thus surmounted the intervening obsta- 
cles, was elevated by the Regent to the post of Comptroller 
General. So accustomed had the community become to all 
juggles and transmutations in this hero of finance, that no one 
seemed shocked or astonished at his sudden elevation. On the 
contrary, being now considered perfectly established in place 


and power, he became more than ever the object of venal adora- 
tion. Men of rank and dignity thronged his antechamber, wait- 
ing patiently their turn for an audience ; and titled dames 
demeaned themselves to take the front seats of the carriages of 
his wife and daughter, as if they had been riding with princesses 
of the royal blood. Law's head grew giddy with his elevation, 
and he began to aspire after aristocratical distinction. There 
was to be a court ball, at which several of the young noblemen 
were to dance in a ballet with the youthful King. Law requested 
that his son might be admitted into the ballet, and the Regent 
consented. The young scions of nobility, however, were indig- 
nant and scouted the "intruding upstart." Their more worldly 
parents, fearful of displeasing the modern Midas, reprimanded 
them in vain. The striplings had not yet imbibed the passion 
for gain, and still held to their high blood. The son of the 
banker received slights and annoyances on all sides, and the 
public applauded them for their spirit. A fit of illness came 
opportunely to relieve the youth from an honor which would 
have cost him a world of vexatious and affronts. 

In February, 1720, shortly after Law's instalment in office, a 
decree came out uniting the bank to the India Company, by 
which last name the whole establishment was now known. The 
decree stated that as the bank was royal, the King was bound 
to make good the value of its bills ; that he committed to the 
company the government of the bank for fifty years, and sold 
to it fifty millions of stock belonging to him, for nine hundred 
millions ; a simple advance of eighteen hundred per cent. The 
decree farther declared, in the King's name, that he would never 
draw on the bank, until the value of his drafts had first been 
lodged in it by his receivers general. 

The bank, it was said, had by this time issued notes to the 
amount of one thousand millions ; being more paper than all the 
banks of Europe were able to circulate. To aid its credit, the re- 
ceivers of the revenue were directed to take bank notes of the 
sub-receivers. All payments, also, of one hundred livres and 
upward were ordered to be made in bank notes. These com- 
pulsory measures for a short time gave a false credit to the bank, 
which proceeded to discount merchants' notes, to lend money 
on jewels, plate, and other valuables, as well as on mortgages. 

Still farther to force on the system an edict next appeared, 
forbidding any individual, or any corporate body, civil or re- 
ligious, to hold in possession more than five hundred livres in 
current coin ; that is to say, about seven louis-d'ors ; the value 
of the louis-d'or in paper being, at the time, seventy-two livres. 


All the gold and silver they might have above this pittance was 
to be brought to the royal bank, and exchanged either for shares 
or bills. 

As confiscation was the penalty of disobedience to this decree, 
and informers were assured a share of the forfeitures, a bounty 
was in a manner held out to domestic spies and traitors ; and 
the most odious scrutiny was awakened into the pecuniary affairs 
of families and individuals. The very confidence between friends 
and relatives was impaired, and all the domestic ties and virtues 
of society were threatened, until a general sentiment of indig- 
nation broke forth, that compelled the Regent to rescind the 
odious decree. Lord Stairs, the British ambassador, speaking 
of the system of espionage encouraged by this edict, observed 
that it was impossible to doubt that Law was a thorough Catho- 
lic, since he had thus established the inquisition, after having 
already proved tramubstantiation, by changing specie into paper. 

Equal abuses had taken place under the colonizing project. 
In his thousand expedients to amass capital, Law had sold 
parcels of laud in Mississippi, at the rate of three thousand livres 
for a league square. Many capitalists had purchased estates 
large enough to constitute almost a principality ; the only evil 
was, Law had sold a property which he could not deliver. The 
agents of police, who aided in recruiting the ranks of the colo- 
nists, had been guilty of scandalous impositions. Under pretence 
of taking up mendicants and vagabonds, they had scoured the 
streets at night, seizing upon honest mechanics, or their sons, 
and hurrying them to their crimping-houses, for the sole purpose 
of extorting money from them as a ransom. The populace was 
roused to indignation by these abuses. The officers of police 
were mobbed in the exercise of their odious functions, and sev- 
eral of them were killed ; which put an end to this flagrant abuse 
of power. 

In March, a most extraordinary decree of the council fixed 
the price of shares of the India Company at nine thousand 
livres each. All ecclesiastical communities and hospitals were 
now prohibited from investing money at interest, in any thing 
but India stock. With all these props and stays, the system 
continued to totter. How could it be otherwise, under a des- 
potic government, that could alter the value of property at 
every moment? The very compulsory measures that were 
adopted to establish the credit of the bank hastened its fall ; 
plainly showing there was a want of solid security. Law 
caused pamphlets to be published, setting forth, in eloquent 
language, the vast profits that must accrue to holders of the 


stock, and the impossibility of the King's ever doing it any 
harm. On the very back of these assertions came forth an 
edict of the King, dated the 22d of May, wherein, under pre- 
tence of having reduced the value of his coin, it was declared 
necessary to reduce the value of his bank notes one half, and 
of the India shares from nine thousand to five thousand livres. 

This decree came like a clap of thunder upon shareholders. 
They found one half of the pretended value of the paper in 
their hands annihilated in an instant ; and what certainty had 
they with respect to the other half? The rich considered them- 
selves ruined ; those in humbler circumstances looked forward 
to abject beggary. 

The parliament seized the occasion to stand forth as the 
protector of the public, and refused to register the decree. It 
gained the credit of compelling the Regent to retrace his step, 
though it is more probable he yielded to the universal burst of 
public astonishment and reprobation. On the 27th of May the 
edict was revoked, and bank-bills were restored to their pre- 
vious value. But the fatal blow had been struck ; the delusion 
was at an end. Government itself had lost all public confi- 
dence, equally with the bank it had engendered, and which its 
own arbitrary acts had brought into discredit. "All Paris," 
says the Regent's mother, in her letters, " has been mourning 
at the cursed decree which Law has persuaded my son to make. 
I have received anonymous letters, stating that I have nothing 
to fear on my own account, but that my son shall be 'pursued 
with fire and sword." 

The Regent now endeavored to avert the odium of his ruin- 
ous schemes from himself. He affected to have suddenly lost 
confidence in Law, and on the 29th of May, discharged him 
from his employ as Comptroller General, and stationed a Swiss 
guard of sixteen men in his house. He even refused to see 
him, when, on the following day, he applied at the portal of 
the Palais Royal for admission : but having played off this 
farce before the public, he admitted him secretly the same 
night, by a private door, and continued as before to co-operate 
with him in his financial schemes. 

On the first of June, the Regent issued a decree, permitting 
persons to have as much money as they pleased in their pos- 
session. Few, however, were in a state to benefit by this 
permission. There was a run upon the bank, but a royal 
ordinance immediately suspended payment, until farther orders. 
To relieve the public mind, a city stock was created, of twenty- 
five millions, bearing an interest of two and a half per cent, 


for which bank notes were taken in exchange. The bank notes 
thus withdrawn from circulation, were publicly burned before 
the Hotel de Ville. The public, however, had lost confidence 
in everything and everybody, and suspected fraud and collusion 
in those who pretended to burn the bills. 

A general confusion now took place in the financial world. 
Families who had lived in opulence, found themselves suddenly 
reduced to indigence. Schemers who had been revelling in the 
delusion of princely fortune, found their estates vanishing into 
thin air. Those who had any property remaining, sought to 
secure it against reverses. Cautious persons found there was 
no safety for property in a country where the coin was continu- 
ally shifting in value, and where a despotism was exercised 
over public securities, and even over the private purses of indi- 
viduals. They began to send their effects into other countries ; 
when lo ! on the 20th of June a royal edict commanded them to 
bring back their effects, under penalty of forfeiting twice their 
value ; and forbade them, under like penalty, from investing 
their money in foreign stocks. This was soon followed by 
another decree, forbidding any one to retain precious stones in 
his possession, or to sell them to foreigners ; all must be 
deposited in the bank, in exchange for depreciating paper ! 

Execrations were now poured out on all sides, against Law, 
and menaces of vengeance. What a contrast, in a short time, 
to the venal incense that was offered up to him ! "This per- 
son," writes the Regent's mother, "who was formerly wor- 
shipped as a god, is now not sure of his life. It is astonishing 
how greatly terrified he is. He is as a dead man ; he is pale as 
a sheet, and it is said he can never get over it. My son is 
not dismayed, though he is threatened on all sides ; and is very 
much amused with Law's terrors." 

About the middle of July the last grand attempt was made 
by Law and the Regent, to keep up the system, and provide for 
the immense emission of paper. A decree was fabricated, giv- 
ing the India Company the entire monopoly of commerce, on 
condition that it would, in the course of a year, reimburse six 
hundred millions of livres of its bills, at the rate of fifty 
millions per month. 

On the 1 7th this decree was sent to parliament to be regis- 
tered. It at once raised a storm of opposition in that assembly ; 
and a vehement discussion took place. While that was going 
on, a disastrous scene was passing out of doors. 

The calamitous effects of the system had reached the hum- 
blest concerns of human life. Provisions had risen to an enor- 


mous price ; paper money was refused at all the shops ; the 
people had not wherewithal to buy bread. It had been found 
absolutely indispensable to relax a little from the suspension of 
specie payments, and to allow small sums to be scantily ex- 
changed for paper. The doors of the bank and the neighboring 
streets were immediately thronged with a famishing multitude, 
seeking cash for bank-notes of ten livres. So great was the 
press and struggle that several persons were stifled and crushed 
to death. The mob carried three of the bodies to the court- 
yard of the Palais Royal. Some cried for the Regent to come 
forth and behold the effect of his system ; others demanded the 
death of Law, the impostor, who had brought this misery and 
ruin upon the nation. 

The moment was critical, the popular fury was rising to a 
tempest, when Le Blanc, the Secretary of State, stepped forth. 
He had previously sent for the military, and now only sought 
to gain time. Singling out six or seven stout fellows, who 
seemed to be the ringleaders of the mob : " My good fellows," 
said he, calmly, " carry away these bodies and place them in 
some church, and then come back quickly to me for your pay." 
They immediately obeyed ; a kind of funeral procession was 
formed ; the arrival of troops dispersed those who lingered 
behind ; and Paris was probably saved from an insurrection. 

About ten o'clock in the morning, all being quiet, Law ven- 
tured to go in his carriage to the Palais Royal. He was saluted 
with cries and curses, as he passed along the streets ; and he 
reached the Palais Royal in a terrible fright. The Regent 
amused himself with his fears, but retained him with him, and 
sent off his carriage, which was assailed by the mob, pelted with 
stones, and the glasses shivered. The news of this outrage 
was communicated to parliament in the midst of a furious dis- 
cussion of the decree for the commercial monopoly. The first 
president, who had been absent for a short time, re-entered, 
and communicated the tidings in a whimsical couplet : 

"Messieurs, Messieurs! bonne nouvelle! 
Le carrosse de Law est reduite en carrelle ! " 

"Gentlemen, Gentlemen! good news: 
The carriage of Law is shivered to atoms ! " 

The members sprang up with joy ; "And Law!" exclaimed 
they, "has he been torn to pieces?" The president was igno- 
rant of the result of the tumult ; whereupon the debate was cut 
short, the decree rejected, and the house adjourned ; the mem- 



bers hurrying to learn the particulars. Such was the levity with 
which public affairs were treated at that dissolute and disastrous 

On the following day there was an ordinance from the king, 
prohibiting all popular assemblages ; and troops were stationed 
at various points, and in all public places. The regiment of 
guards was ordered to hold itself in readiness ; and the musket- 
eers to be at their hotels, with their horses ready saddled. A 
number of small offices were opened, where people might cash 
small notes, though with great delay and difficulty. An edict 
was also issued declaring that whoever should refuse to take 
bank-notes in the course of trade should forfeit double the 
amount ! 

The continued and vehement opposition of parliament to the 
whole delusive system of finance, had been a constant source 
of annoyance to the Regent ; but this obstinate rejection of his 
last grand expedient of a commercial monopoly, was riot to be 
tolerated. He determined to punish that intractable body. 
The Abbe Dubois and Law suggested a simple mode ; it was to 
suppress the parliament altogether, being, as they observed, so 
far from useful, that it was a constant impediment to the march 
of public affairs. The Regent was half inclined to listen to 
their advice ; but upon calmer consideration, and the advice of 
friends, he adopted a more moderate course. On the 20th 
of July, early in the morning, all the doors of the parliament- 
house were taken possession of by troops. Others were sent to 
surround the house of the first president, and others to the 
houses of the various members ; who were all at first in great 
alarm, until an order from the king was put into their hands, 
to render themselves at Pontoise, in the course of two days, to 
which place the parliament was thus suddenly and arbitrarily 

This despotic act, says Voltaire, would at any other time have 
caused an insurrection ; but one half of the Parisians were oc- 
cupied by their ruin, and the other half by their fancied riches, 
which were soon to vanish. The president and members of 
parliament acquiesced in the mandate without a murmur ; they 
even went as if on a party of pleasure, and made every prep- 
aration to lead a joyous life in their exile. The musketeers, 
who held possession of the vacated parliament-house, a gay 
corps of fashionable young fellows, amused themselves with 
making songs and pasquinades, at the expense of the exiled 
legislators ; and at length, to pass away time, formed them- 
selves into a mock parliament ; elected their presidents, kings, 


ministers, and advocates ; took their seats in due form, ar- 
raigned a cat at their bar, in place of the Sieur Law, and after 
giving it a "fair trial." condemned it to be hanged. In this 
manner public affairs and public institutions were lightly turned 
to jest. 

As to the exiled parliament, it lived gayly and luxuriously at 
Pontoise, at the public expense ; for the Regent had furnished 
funds, as usual, with a lavish hand. The first president had 
the mansion of the Duke de Bouillon put at his disposal, ready 
furnished, with a vast and delightful garden on the borders of 
a river. There he kept open house to all the members of par- 
liament. Several tables were spread every day, all furnished 
luxuriously and splendidly ; the most exquisite wines and 
liquors, the choicest fruits and refreshments, of all kinds, 
abounded. A number of small chariots for one and two horses 
were always at hand, for such ladies and old gentlemen as 
wished to take an airing after dinner, and card and billiard 
tables for such as chose to amuse themselves in that way until 
supper. The sister and the daughter of the first president did 
the honors of the house, and he himself presided there with an 
air of great ease, hospitality, and magnificence. It became a 
party of pleasure to drive from Paris to Pontoise, which was 
six leagues distant, and partake of the amusements and festivi- 
ties of the place. Business was openly slighted ; nothing was 
thought of but amusement. The Regent and his government were 
laughed at, and made the subjects of continual pleasantries ; 
while the enormous expenses incurred by this idle and lavish 
course of life, more than doubled the liberal sums provided. 
This was the way in which the parliament resented their exile. 

During all this time, the system was getting more and more 
involved. The stock exchange had some time previously been 
removed to the Place Yendome ; but the tumult and noise be- 
coming intolerable to the residents of that polite quarter, and 
especially to the chancellor, whose hotel was there, the Prince 
and Princess Carignan, both deep gamblers in Mississippi stock, 
offered the extensive garden of the Hotel de Soissons as a 
rallyiug-place for the worshippers of Mammon. The offer was 
accepted. A number of barracks were immediately erected 
in the garden, as offices for the stock-brokers, and an order 
was obtained from the Regent, under pretext of police regula- 
tions, that no bargain should be valid unless concluded in these 
barracks. The rent of them immediately mounted to a hundred 
livres a month for each, and the whole yieldeil these noble pro- 
prietors an ignoble revenue of half a million of livres. 


The mania for gain, however, was now at an end. A uni- 
versal panic succeeded. " Sauve qui pent!" was the watch- 
word. Every one was anxious to exchange falling paper for 
something of intrinsic and permanent value. Since money 
was not to be had, jewels, precious stones, plate, porcelain, 
trinkets of gold and silver, all commanded any price in paper. 
Land was bought at fifty years' purchase, and he esteemed 
himself happy who could get it even at this price. Monopolies 
now became the rage among the noble holders of paper. The 
Duke de la Force bought up nearly all the tallow, grease, and 
soap ; others the coffee and spices ; others hay and oats. For- 
eign exchanges were almost impracticable. The debts of Dutch 
and English merchants were paid in this fictitious money, all 
the coin of the realm having disappeared. All the relations of 
debtor anft creditor were confounded. With one thousand 
crowns one might pay a debt of eighteen thousand livres ! 

The Regent's mother, who once exulted in the affluence of 
bank paper, now wrote in a very different tone: "I have 
often wished," said she in her letters, " that these bank notes 
were in the depths of the infernal regions. They have given my 
son more trouble than relief. Nobody in France has a penny. 
. . . My son was once popular, but since the arrival of this 
cursed Law, he is hated more and more. Not a week passes, 
without my receiving letters filled with frightful threats, and 
speaking of him as a tyrant. I have just received one threat- 
ening him with poison. When I showed it to him, he did noth- 
ing but laugh." 

In the meantime, Law was dismayed by the increasing 
troubles, and terrified at the tempest he had raised. He was 
not a man of real courage ; and fearing for his personal safety, 
from popular tumult, or the despair of ruined individuals, he 
again took refuge in the palace of the Regent. The latter, as 
usual, amused himself with his terrors, and turned every new 
disaster into a jest ; but he too began to think of his own 

In pursuing the schemes of Law, he had no doubt calculated, 
to carry through his term of government with ease and splendor ,; 
and to enrich himself, his connections, and his favorites ; and 
had hoped that the catastrophe of the system would not take 
place until after the expiration of the regency. 

He now saw his mistake ; that it was impossible much longer 
to prevent an explosion ; and he determined at once to get Law 
out of the way, and then to charge him with the whole tissue of 
delusions of this paper alchemy. He accordingly took occasion 


of the recall of parliament in December, 1720, to suggest to 
Law the policy of his avoiding an encounter with that hostile 
and exasperated body. Law needed no urging to the measure. 
His only desire was to escape from Paris and its tempestuous 
populace. Two days before the. return of parliament he took 
his sudden and secret departure. He travelled in a chaise bear- 
ing the arms of the Regent, and was escorted by a kind of safe- 
guard of servants, in the duke's livery. His first place of 
refuge was an estate of the Regent's, about six leagues from 
Paris, from whence he pushed forward to Bruxelles. 

As soon as Law was fairly out of the way, the Duke of Or- 
leans summoned a council of the regency, and informed them 
that they were assembled to deliberate on the state of the 
finances, and the affairs of the India Company. Accordingly 
La Houssaye, Comptroller General, rendered a perfectly clear 
statement, by which it appeared that there were bank bills in 
circulation to the amount of two milliards, seven hundred mil- 
lions of livres, without any evidence that this enormous sum 
had been emitted in virtue of any ordinance from the general 
assembly of the India Company, which alone had the right to 
authorize such emissions. 

The council was astonished at this disclosure, and looked to 
the Regent for explanation. Pushed to the extreme, the Regent 
avowed that Law had emitted bills to the amount of twelve 
hundred millions beyond what had been fixed by ordinances, 
and in contradiction to express prohibitions ; that the thing be- 
ing done, he, the Regent, had legalized or rather covered the 
transaction, by decrees ordering such emissions, which decrees 
he had antedated. 

A stormy scene ensued between the Regent and the Duke de 
Bourbon, little to the credit of either, both having been deeply 
implicated in the cabalistic operations of the system. In fact,- 
the several members of the council had been among the most 
venal " beneficiaries " of the scheme, and had interests at stake 
which they were anxious to secure. From all the circumstances 
of the case, I am inclined to think that others were more to 
blame than Law, for the disastrous effects of his financial pro- 
jects. His bank, had it been confined to its original limits, and 
left to the control of its own internal regulations, might have 
gone on prosperously, and been of .great benefit to the nation. 
It was an institution fitted for a free country ; but unfortunately 
it was subjected to the control of a despotic government, that 
could, at its pleasure, alter the value of the specie within its 
vaults, and compel the most extravagant expansions of its 


paper circulation. The vital principle of a bank is security in 
the regularity of its operations, and the immediate convertibility 
of its paper into coin ; and what confidence could be reposed in 
an institution or its paper promises, when the sovereign could 
at any moment centuple those promises in the market, and seize 
upon all the money in the bank? The compulsory measures 
used, likewise, to force bank notes into currency, against the 
judgment of the public, was fatal to the system ; for credit 
must be free and uncontrolled as the common air. The Regent 
was the evil spirit of the system, that forced Law on to an 
expansion of his paper currency far beyond what he had ever 
dreamed of. He it was that in a manner compelled the unlucky 
projector to devise all kinds of collateral companies and mo- 
nopolies, by which to raise funds to meet the constantly and enor- 
mously increasing emissions of shares and notes. Law was but 
like a poor conjurer in the hands of a potent spirit that he has 
evoked, and that obliges him to go on, desperately and ruinously, 
with his conjurations. He only thought at the outset to raise 
the wind, but the Regent compelled him to raise the whirlwind. 

The investigation of the affairs of the Company by the coun- 
cil, resulted in nothing beneficial to the public. The princes 
and nobles who had enriched themselves by all kinds of juggles 
and extortions, escaped unpunished, and retained the greater 
part of their spoils. Many of the ''suddenly rich," who had 
risen from obscurity to a giddy height of imaginary prosperity, 
and had indulged in all kinds of vulgar and ridiculous excesses, 
awoke as out of a dream, in their original poverty, now made 
more galling and humiliating by their transient elevation. 

The weight of the evil, however, fell on more valuable classes 
of society ; honest tradesmen and artisans, who had been se- 
duced away from the safe pursuits of industry, to the specious 
chances of speculation. Thousands of meritorious families 
also, once opulent, had been reduced to indigence, by a too 
great confidence in government. There was a general derange- 
ment in the finances, that long exerted a baneful influence over 
the national prosperity ; but the most disastrous effects of the 
system were upon the morals and manners of the nation. The 
faith of engagements, the sanctity of promises in affairs of 
business, were at an end. Every expedient to grasp present 
profit, or to evade present difficulty, was tolerated. While such 
deplorable laxity of principle was generated in the busy classes, 
the chivalry of France had soiled their pennons ; and honor and 
glory, so long the idols of the Gallic nobility, had been tumbled 
to the earth, and trampled in the dirt of the stock-market. 


As to Law, the originator of the system, he appears eventu- 
ally to have profited but little by his schemes. " He was a 
quack," says Voltaire, "to whom the state was given to be 
cured, but who poisoned it with his drugs, and who poisoned 
himself." The effects which he left behind in France, were 
sold at a low price, and the proceeds dissipated. His landed 
estates were confiscated. He carried away with him barely 
enough to maintain himself, his wife, and daughter, with de- 
cency. The chief relic of his immense fortune was a great 
diamond, which he was often obliged to pawn. He was in 
England in 1721, and was presented to George the First. He 
returned shortly afterwards to the continent ; shifting about 
from place to place, and died in Venice, in 1729. His wife and 
daughter, accustomed to live with the prodigality of princesses, 
could not conform to their altered fortunes, but dissipated the 
scanty means left to them, and sank into abject poverty. " I 
saw his wife," says Voltaire, "at Bruxelles, as much humili- 
ated as she had been haughty and triumphant at Paris." An 
elder brother of Law remained in France, and was protected 
by the Duchess of Bourbon. His descendants acquitted them- 
selves honorably, in various public employments; and one of 
them was the Marquis Lauriston, some time Lieutenant General 
and Peer of France. 



"I have heard of spirits walking with aerial bodies, and have been wondered at by 
others j but I must only wonder at myself, for if they be not mad, I'nae come to my own 

EVERYBODY has heard of the fate of Don Juan, the famous 
libertine of Seville, who for his sins against the fair sex and 
other minor peccadilloes was hurried away to the infernal re- 
gions. His story has been illustrated in play, in pantomime, 
and farce, on every stage in Christendom ; until at length it has 
been rendered the theme of the opera of operas, and embalmed 
to endless duration in the glorious music of Mozart. I well 
recollect the effect of this story upon my feelings in my boy- 
ish days, though represented in grotesque pantomime ; the awe 
with which I contemplated the monumental statue on horseback 
of the murdered commander, gleaming by pale moonlight in 


the convent cemetery ; how my heart quaked as he bowed his 
marble head, and accepted the impious invitation of Don Juan : 
how each foot-fall of the statue smote upon my heart, as I 
heard it approach, step by step, through the echoing corridor, 
and beheld it enter, and advance, a moving figure of stone, to 
the supper-table ! But then the convivial scene in the charnel- 
house, where Don Juan returned the visit of the statue ; was 
offered a banquet of skulls and bones, and on refusing to par- 
take, was hurled into a yawning gulf, under a tremendous 
shower of fire ! These were accumulated horrors enough to 
shake the nerves of the most pantomime-loving school-boy. 
Many have supposed the story of Don Juan a mere fable. I 
myself thought so once; but "seeing is believing." I have 
since beheld the very scene where it took place, and now to in- 
dulge any doubt on the subject would be preposterous. 

I was one night perambulating the streets of Seville, in com- 
pany with a Spanish friend, a curious investigator of the popu- 
lar traditions and other good-for-nothing lore of the city, and 
who was kind enough to imagine he had met, in me, with a 
congenial spirit. In the course of our rambles we were passing 
by a heavy, dark gateway, opening into the court-yard of a 
convent, when he laid his hand upon my arm : " Stop ! " said 
he, " this is the convent of San Francisco ; there is a story con- 
nected with it, which I am sure must be known to you. You 
cannot but have heard of Don Juan and the marble statue." 

"Undoubtedly," replied I, " it has been familiar to me from 

" Well, then, it was in the cemetery of this very convent that 
the events took place." 

" Why, you do not mean to say that the story is founded on 

" Undoubtedly it is. The circumstances of the case are said 
to have occurred during the reign of Alfonso XI. Don Juan 
was of the noble family of Tenorio, one of the most illustrious 
houses of Andalusia. His father, Don Diego Tenorio, was a 
favorite of the king, and his family ranked among the veinte- 
cuatros, or magistrates, of the city. Presuming on his high de- 
scent and powerful connections, Don Juan set no bounds to his 
excesses : no female, high or low, was sacred from his pursuit : 
and he soon became the scandal of Seville. One of his most 
daring outrages was, to penetrate by night into the palace of 
Don Gonzalo de Ulloa, commander of the order of Calatrava, 
and attempt to carry off his daughter. The household was 
alarmed ; a scuffle in the dark took place ; Don Juan escaped, 


but the unfortunate commander was found weltering in his 
blood, and expired without being able to name his murderer. 
Suspicions attached to Don Juan ; he did not stop to meet the 
investigations of justice, and the vengeance of the powerful 
family of Ulloa, but fled from Seville, and took refuge with his 
uncle, Don Pedro Tenorio, at that time ambassador at the court 
of Naples. Here he remained until the agitation occasioned by 
the murder of Don Gonzalo had time to subside ; and the scan- 
dal which the affair might cause to both the families of Ulloa 
and Tenorio had induced them to hush it up. Don Juan, how- 
ever, continued his libertine career at Naples, until at length 
his excesses forfeited the protection of his uncle, the ambassa- 
dor, and obliged him again to flee. He had made his way back 
to Seville, trusting that his past misdeeds were forgotten, or 
rather trusting to his dare-devil spirit and the power of his 
family, to carry him through all difficulties. 

"It was shortly after his return, and while in the height of 
his arrogance, that on visiting this very convent of Francisco, 
he beheld on a monument the equestrian statue of the murdered 
commander, who had been buried within the walls of this sacred 
edifice, where the family of Ulloa had a chapel. It was on this 
occasion that Don Juan, in a moment of impious levity, invited 
the statue to the banquet, the awful catastrophe of which has 
given such celebrity to his story." 

"And pray how much of this story," said I, "is believed in 

"The whole of it by the populace; with whom it has been 
a favorite tradition since time immemorial, and who crowd to 
the theatres to see it represented in dramas written long since 
by Tyrso de Molina, and another of our popular writers. Many 
in our higher ranks also, accustomed from childhood to this 
story, would feel somewhat indignant at hearing it treated with 
contempt. An attempt has been made to explain the whole, 
by asserting that, to put an end to the extravagances of Don 
Juan, and to pacify the family of Ulloa, without exposing the 
delinquent to'the degrading penalties of justice, he was decoyed 
into this convent under a false pretext, and either plunged into a 
perpetual dungeon, or privately hurried out of existence ; while 
the story of the statue was circulated by the monks, to account 
for his sudden disappearance. The populace, however, are not 
to be cajoled out of a ghost story by any of these plausible 
explanations ; and the marble statue still strides the stage, and 
Don Juan is still plunged into the infernal regions, as an awful 
warning to all rake-helly youngsters, in like case offending." 


While my companion was relating these anecdotes, we had 
entered the gate-way, traversed the exterior court-yard of the 
convent, and made our way into a great interior court ; partly 
surrounded by cloisters and dormitories, partly by chapels, and 
having a large fountain in the centre. The pile had evidently 
once been extensive and magnificent ; but it was for the greater 
part in ruins. By the light of the stars, and of twinkling lamps 
placed here and there in the chapels and corridors, I could see 
that many of the columns and arches were broken ; the walls 
were rent and riven ; while burned beams and rafters showed the 
destructive effects of fire. The whole place had a? desolate air; 
the night breeze rustled through grass and weeds flaunting out 
of the crevices of the walls, or from the shattered columns ; the 
bat flitted about the vaulted passages, and the owl hooted from 
the ruined belfry. Never was any scene more completely fitted 
for a ghost story. 

While I was indulging in picturings of the fancy, proper to 
such a place, the deep chant of the monks from the convent 
church came swelling upon the ear. " It is the vesper service," 
said my companion ; " follow me." 

Leading the way across the court of the cloisters, and 
through one or two ruined passages, he reached the distant 
portal of the church, and pushing open a wicket, cut in the 
folding-doors, we found ourselves in the deep arched vestibule 
of the sacred edifice. To our left was the choir, forming one 
end of the church, and having a low vaulted ceiling, which gave 
it the look of a cavern. About this were ranged the monks, 
seated* on stools, and chanting from immense books placed on 
music-stands, and having the notes scored in such gigantic 
characters as to be legible from every part of the choir. A few 
lights on these music-stands dimly illumined the choir, gleamed 
on the shaven heads of the monks, and threw their shadows on 
the walls. They were gross, blue-bearded, bullet-headed men, 
with bass voices, of deep metallic tone, that reverberated out 
of the cavernous choir. 

To our right extended the great body of the church. It was 
spacious and lofty ; some of the side chapels had gilded grates, 
and were decorated with images and paintings, representing 
the sufferings of our Saviour. Aloft was a great painting by 
Murillo, but too much in the dark to be distinguished. The 
gloom of the whole church was but faintly relieved by the re- 
flected light from the choir, and the glimmering -here and there 
of a votive lamp before the shrine of a saint. 

As my eye roamed about the shadowy pile, it was struck 


with the dimly seen figure of a man on horseback, near a dis- 
tant altar. I touched my companion, and pointed to it : " The 
spectre statue ! " said I. 

" No," replied he ; " it is the statue of the blessed St. lago ; 
the statue of the commander was in the cemetery of the con- 
vent, and was destroyed at the time of the conflagration. 
But," added he, " as I see you take a proper interest in these 
kind of stories, come with me to the other end of the church, 
where our whisperings will not disturb these holy fathers at 
their devotions, and I will tell you another story, that has been 
current for some generations in our city, by which you will find 
that Don Juan is not the only libertine that has been the object 
of supernatural castigation in Seville." 

I accordingly followed him with noiseless tread to the farther 
part of the church, where we took our seats on the steps of an 
altar, opposite to the suspicious-looking figure on horseback, 
and there, in a low, mysterious voice, he related to me the fol- 
lowing narrative : 

" There was once in Seville a gay young fellow, Don Manuel 
de Manara by name, who having come to a great estate by the 
death of his father, gave the reins to his passions, and plunged 
into all kinds of dissipation. Like Don Juan, whom he seemed 
to have taken for a model, he became famous for his enterprises 
among the fair sex, and was the cause of doors being barred 
and windows grated with more than usual strictness. All in 
vain. No balcony was too high for him to scale ; no bolt nor 
bar was proof against his efforts ; and his very name was a 
word of terror to all the jealous husbands and cautious fathers 
of Seville. His exploits extended to country as well as city ; 
and in the village dependent on his castle, scarce a rural beauty 
was safe from his arts and enterprises. 

"As he was one day ranging the streets of Seville, with sev- 
eral of his dissolute companions, he beheld a procession about 
to enter the gate of a convent. In the centre was a young 
female arrayed in the dress of a bride ; it was a novice, who, 
having accomplished her year of probation, was about to take 
the black veil, and consecrat